Bookmark Icon
Print Icon
Email Icon

Feb 4, 2019

Queens, New York

February is Heart Health Month, when individuals are reminded that heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women. However, there are ways to prevent heart disease and improve cardiovascular functions.

“Heart disease takes more lives each year than all forms of cancer combined,” said Dr. David Slotwiner, chief, Division of Cardiology, at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. “The good news is that heart disease is preventable and exercise, a healthy diet and the avoidance of harmful activities like smoking are some of the best ways to keep your heart healthy.”

The NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Cardiology team offers the following tips:

  1. Focus on a healthy diet.Eating more whole, plant-based foods (like fruits, vegetables and nuts) and less refined or processed foods is a great way to improve your heart health.
  2. Don’t smoke. According to the American Heart Association, exposure to tobacco smoke contributes to about 34,000 premature heart disease deaths each year. If you smoke, try to quit, and don't spend time around others who do smoke to help avoid the habit all together.
  3. Exercise. Research shows that people who live a sedentary lifestyle are at an increased risk of developing blood clots and other adverse cardiovascular conditions. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week.
  4. Get rest. Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. If you are having difficulty sleeping consult a physician to make sure that this is not the result of an underlying condition like sleep apnea which can be a cause of heart disease.
  5. Avoid trans fats. While a balanced diet includes fats, you need to make sure you are ingesting the right kinds of fats including saturated, polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats. Trans fats may increase your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke.
  6. Check your blood pressure. It’s important to get your blood pressure checked every time you get a physical. If your blood pressure is too high, the extra force can damage artery walls and create scar tissue making it harder for blood and oxygen to get to and from your heart.
  7. Stay stress-free. Managing stress in a healthy way, whether it's meditation, yoga, exercise, or just spending time with friends, is vital to overall health.
  8. Practice good dental hygiene. Dental health is a great indication of overall health, because those who have periodontal (gum) disease often have risk factors for heart disease as well.
  9. Know your blood sugar levels.  Over time, elevated blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes, a contributing factor to heart disease. Consult a doctor to see if you are at risk or potentially considered pre-diabetic.
  10. Reduce your sodium intake. Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults have no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day or about a teaspoon of salt.

NewYork-Presbyterian Queens

NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, located in Flushing, New York, is a community teaching hospital affiliated with Weill Cornell Medicine, serving Queens and metro New York residents. The 535-bed tertiary care facility provides services in 14 clinical departments and numerous subspecialties.  Annually, 15,000 surgeries and 4,000 infant deliveries are performed at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. With its network of affiliated primary and multispecialty care physician practices and community-based health centers, the hospital provides approximately 162,000 ambulatory care visits and 124,000 emergency service visits annually. For more information, visit nyp.org/queens.