Heart Health Tips from Our Experts
Start with Baby Steps
"I like to tell my patients to take baby steps when starting the road to being heart healthy. An important example is to NOT incorporate regular weighing of your weight, as this often brings discouragement when people start focusing in on a certain number. Being heart healthy is a journey of life. You start by crawling it, then walking it, and finally running the road. The weight loss will come in time."
Selwin Abraham, MD, FACC, FSCAI is a fellowship trained cardiologist specializing in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
Reduce Salt Intake
"Here at Erlanger, we specialize in preventing and treating stroke. This includes access to the latest state-of-the-art devices for the heart, and cutting edge research. That said, one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of stroke is to reduce your salt intake! Salt drives up blood pressure, and this increases the risk of stroke over time. By cutting back on your salt intake even a little bit, you can decrease your blood pressure by 5 to 10 points!”
Megan Coylewright, MD, MPH, FSCAI, FACC is Erlanger's Vice Chief of Cardiology Faculty Development and Director of the health system's Structural Heart Program.
Take the Stairway
“Take stairs and not elevators. That’s what I personally do from the hospital parking garage in the basement to our 5th floor cardiology office. I never take elevators in the hospital all day. You'll be surprised how many steps you can get in!"
Rehan Kahloon, MD, is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Diseases, as well as Interventional Cardiology. He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and a Fellow of the Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions.
Don't Forget "Me Time"
“Don’t forget to take some ‘me time,’ every day. Try to focus on yourself in a positive way every day. Whether it be yoga, working out, or reading, this gives some time to reflect and have some calm in an often not-calm day. Managing stress is good for health and well-being - and positive psychological health is associated with lower risk of heart disease."
Harish Manyam, MD, is Erlanger’s Chief of Cardiology, Director of Cardiovascular Research, and Head of the Atrial Fibrillation Center at Erlanger.
Eat Healthy - And Treat Yourself
"I stick to a healthy diet. I rarely eat meat, but when I do it's in small quantities. I never eat processed food if I can help it. I stick to'whole foods' -- I want to be able to know what's in my food just by looking at it. I sometimes treat myself to something like pizza or a hamburger (I usually make it myself) on the weekends or on special occasions though, and that's OK."
Augustus E. Mealor, MD is a fellowship trained cardiologist specializing in the treatment of all types of heart rhythm disorders, including Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).
Share Home BP Readings
"Controlling your blood pressure is an important tool for improving your cardiac prognosis. Your doctor can help you manage your BP more effectively if your average reading can be carefully assessed. If you take your BP at home, write down the readings on a piece of paper. Then use your cellphone to take a photograph of the list and bring to your next medical appointment for your doctor to review. Also, bring in your home BP machine to the office at least annually so its accuracy can be monitored by co-measurement with the doctor’s machine.”
L. Kendrick Mills, MD, FACC, is a fellowship-trained cardiologist specializing in outpatient and non-invasive cardiology, including interpreting EKGs, echocardiograms, and ambulatory rhythm monitors.