Heart Month Featured on Ask the Expert

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February has become heart month where more attention is brought to heart disease. KUTV’s Ask the Expert brings in Intermountain caregivers to speak about prevention tips, including nutrition and exercise, as well as talking about how to reverse and become aware of potentially fatal heart problems.

Look For the Symptoms

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for adult men and women. That amounts to 610,000 people who pass away from heart disease every year. 

It’s really important for everyone to know the warning signs of those diseases so you can take action.

“Warning signs for an impeding heart attack is a lack of oxygen can be a very serious thing and people need to take it seriously and seek emergency care,” said Dr. Kelly Woodward, medical director of the Intermountain Park City LiVe Well Center.

Heart disease symptoms include:

  • Chest pressure, tightness or heaviness
  • Pain radiate to shoulders, jaw, arms and back
  • Nausea, sweating, shortness of breath

But even with these warnings, women and men can experience symptoms differently – such as women can feel more lethargic than pain.

“We need to have a heightened awareness that sometimes women will not have the same symptoms as men,” Dr. Woodward said.

RELATED: The Difference in Heart Attacks Between Men and Women

A Diet That Helps Your Heart

The Mediterranean Diet is getting more attention these days. This is not a fad diet – but rather a way of life. The results are in weight management – but most important it helps the heart.

“It’s a heart healthy diet. It’s a traditional diet based on the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea,” said Elizabeth Wade, registered dietitian at Intermountain’s McKay-Dee Hospital.

The traditional food uses a lot of fresh greens, fruits and vegetables. Along with nuts, whole grains, beans and fish as the protein.

“Also heart healthy fats such as olive oil and rarely eat red meat and sweets rarely as well,” Wade said.

The Mediterranean lifestyle also goes along with the culture and the diet. So add in physical activity and stress management.

RELATED: Mediterranean Diet: What is it and How Can it Improve Health?

Exercising Your Heart

A heart-healthy meal plan is important to help keep the major muscle in great condition. But it also needs a daily dose of activity.

“We need 30 to 45 minutes of strenuous physical activity every day,” said Dr. John Mitchell from Intermountain’s Utah Valley Hospital. Strenuous activity means getting your heart rate over 100 beats per minute during the exercise.

“And the goal of doing that is to prevent a collection of fat in the body – obesity. Which can cause a progressive narrowing of the arteries,” Dr. Mitchell said.

Once the arteries narrow enough to restrict blood flow then a potentially fatal heart attack can soon follow. Diet and exercise will go a long way to preventing or reversing this deadly condition.

For more stories on Heart Month, visit KUTV’s Ask the Expert website. March’s topic on Ask the Expert is on mental health.