By Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan
Feb. 18, 2010
At staggering rates, heart disease continues to claim the lives of many people across the national and in Southeast Michigan. This is especially true for women, who tend to nurture everyone else except themselves. As a physician, I’m encouraging you to understand your risk factors and be proactive.
The Go Red For Women campaign has increased our knowledge about heart disease, but only 65 percent of women realize heart disease is their No. 1 killer and less than half can identify healthy levels for cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol. You need to know you’re at risk, so you can take action to protect your health. If women choose to ignore the warning signs, chronic health problems can and do occur including: congestive heart failure, strokes, cardiovascular diseases and death.
Now is the time to connect with your mind, body and spirit by following the suggested recommendations for a healthier lifestyle.
Stress reduction is a key component, especially in these economic times. Connect with your mind by finding stress reducers such as spending time with family, friends and pets. Taking time to enjoy these special moments can help free your mind from things you cannot control.
Another way to achieve ideal cardiovascular health for adults is defined by the presence of the following health measures:
-¢ Never smoked or quit more than one year ago
-¢ Body mass index less than 25 kg/m2
-¢ Physical activity of at least 150 minutes (moderate) or 75 minutes (vigorous) each week
-¢ Four to five of the key components of a healthy diet consistent with current American Heart Association guideline recommendations
-¢ Total cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dL
-¢ Blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg
-¢ Fasting blood glucose less than 100 mg/dL
“Ideal” health can be difficult to achieve, in part because genetics can play an important role in several of the health factors. Everyone should strive to reach his or her optimal level of heart health. The first step is to know your heart health numbers: cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose and also what they mean. The next step is to try to reach as close to “ideal” as you can.
Studies show that connecting with your spirit by mediation or yoga can protect against heart disease and stroke. Aside from creating great joy, peace, and the ability to deal with life’s stresses, meditation lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, improves the functioning of blood vessel walls, and can possibly reduce atherosclerosis - the buildup of cholesterol plaques in the arteries that can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Speak Up about Heart Disease
You can save lives using the power of your very own voice. Speak up to save lives at GoRedForWomen.Org. Join Go Red For Women to share your healthy choices and connect with women who are speaking up for women’s heart health nationwide.
Integrating All of It
Women are instinctively nurturing, and our service to our loved ones and to our communities defines us. However, in order to give our best to others, we must take care of ourselves. This has to do with all aspects of who we are. Heart health is not isolated to the well-known risk factors of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and family history. An important and often overlooked cause is stress, be it physical, emotional or mental. Stress in the form of depression, aggression, anger and restlessness is strongly linked to heart disease and other serious chronic illnesses.
Thus, medications, procedures and surgeries, which are of supreme benefit in treating heart disease, are not enough. True healing and prevention occurs when the connection between mind, body and soul is addressed and brought into harmony. The Heal Your Heart Free Your Soul program helps treat and prevent heart disease with a unique, 7-prong approach that addresses all spheres of an individual’s life - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. This program is designed by cardiologists to bring perfect balance and achieve vibrant health, total peace, inner strength and lasting joy.
Join us for a weekend of inner exploration and discovery of a new and exciting way of life:
The registration fee of $195 includes breakfast and lunch each day and personalized lifestyle prescriptions. Space is limited! Pre-registration deadline is Wed., April 7, 2010. After that date, only onsite registration will be offered if space is available. To determine if registration will be accepted onsite, please call 248-898-0116 or visit www.beaumonthospitals.com/healyourheart.
Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan is a cardiologist at Beaumont Hospitals and Co-chair for Go Red For Women campaign.