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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

February is Heart Month

“Be heart smart”
by Christopher T. Mallavarapu, MD, FACC, FSCAI
interventional cardiologist, Olean General Hospital, Bradford Regional Medical Center, Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute

Dr. Christopher Mallavarapu is medical director of the interventional cardiac catheterization laboratory at Olean General Hospital.  He a member of General Physician PC practice group, is board certified in interventional cardiology and is on the medical staff of Olean General Hospital, Bradford Regional Medical Center and Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute, Buffalo.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Roughly one in four deaths, or 630,000 Americans, are due to heart disease every year. In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of all Americans have at least one risk factor. Diabetes, poor diet, lack of exercise and excessive alcohol use also contribute to heart disease. The average man has a heart attack around age 66 and woman at around 70. People work hard their entire life and right after they hit retirement age they tend to have their heart attack.

Winter can be a particularly bad time for heart attacks in Western New York/Northwestern Pennsylvania. Cold temperatures can constrict coronary arteries and precipitate angina. Avoid shoveling snow. Snow can be quite heavy and shoveling puts a tremendous strain on the heart. I tell my patients to be aware of chest discomfort in the center of the chest. It can feel like a squeezing or pressure-like sensation. Discomfort can also radiate to the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach. It may also be associated with shortness of breath. Women’s most common heart attack symptom is also chest discomfort, but they are more likely than men to get shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and back or jaw pain. If you experience these symptoms, call 911 and get to the closest hospital with interventional cardiac catheterization lab facilities. With an experienced heart attack team, there is a very good chance the heart attack can be treated in an expedient manner and heart muscle function will be preserved.

The key to avoiding a heart attack is prevention. I tell all my patients to avoid smoking, control their blood pressure and make sure cholesterol is well controlled. Avoid being sedentary. Fifteen thousand steps a day is ideal. In men, erectile dysfunction can be a warning sign of heart disease. Avoid stress, adapt healthy eating habits and avoid processed foods and sugary drinks. Don’t eat after the sun goes down. The body is very inefficient at breaking down food in the evening. Healthy foods to consider are almonds, walnuts and other nuts. Tumeric and daily yogurt can be beneficial for heart health. Vegetables, salmon, sardines, tuna and mackerel are better choices than red meat. Red meat is associated with elevated levels of TMAO (trimethylene N-oxide) which may contribute to stroke and heart attacks. With careful planning and paying attention to heart attack and stroke risk factors and modifying them, most people can have a very good life span with a good quality of life.

Above all, pay attention to the signs and symptom of a heart attack.
⦁ Chest pressure
⦁ Shortness of breath
⦁ Feeling of numbness
⦁ Nausea
⦁ Pain that travels down one or both arms
⦁ Jaw pain
⦁ Fatigue
⦁ Back pain
⦁ Anxiety
⦁ Feeling of fullness

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 right away. If you have any questions about your heart or have concerns, talk to your doctor.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

An emergency room nurse told me a large number of heart attack patients had tums in their shirt pockets or similar anti acid indegestion meds. So, perhaps chronic acid indegestion could be a symptom.......