Exercise and diet maintain heart health
TNE Editor
/ Categories: Campus News, Health

Exercise and diet maintain heart health

Published 2/7/17

Jeremy Doublehead

TNE Writer

February is American Heart Month. It is a time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health.

 A healthy heart is important and can often be treated with proper diet. Avoiding fatty foods and high cholesterol intake is helpful. Imagine the grease drained from frying meat. As it sits and cools off, the grease tends to thicken and harden while changing to a white film. That is exactly what it does to arteries. The blockages can some times be alleviated without medication. Some have to have medication that dissolves some plaque build up. Other times sents are placed in the arteries to prevent the arteries from collapsing and causing a restriction of blood flow. Diet and exercise are just a few things that affect health.

Clayton Tselee, an NSU graduate of the health and kinesiology program, said heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, and it is one of the most preventable. One way to prevent it is physical activity.

According to the American Heart Association, 30 minutes a day for 5 days is all that is needed to improve cardiovascular health.

“Participating in aerobic exercises such as walking, running and swimming are just some of physical activities that one can do to lower heart disease,” said Tselee.

A diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy and heart-healthy fats like olive oil promotes cardiovascular health. When doing that, a supplement or multivitamin is rarely required, as most everything needed can be gained from a healthy, well-balanced diet.  Some populations, however, would benefit from select vitamins, minerals or supplements, but this should be tailored to the individual and is best discussed with a specialist.

“As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I advocate an individualized approach for each patient tailored to their specific dietary needs, goals and food preferences,” said Jason Stevens, nutritional sciences instructor. “If you have a history of cardiovascular disease or are at high risk due to diabetes or other chronic conditions, you should consult your health care team for guidelines that apply specifically to you.”

Ronetta Galcatcher is a registered nurse. She has worked directly in the intensive care unit at W. W. Hastings hospital for one year.

“I strictly worked with the cardiac heart monitors,” said Galcathcer. “I was able to analyze heart rhythms and notify the physician in any emergency situation. We are taught to treat the patient and not the monitor.”

Galcatcher has also been diagnosed with sick sinus syndrome, also known as sinus node disease or sinus node dysfunction. This is the name for a group of heart rhythm problems, arrhythmias, in which the sinus node, the heart's natural pacemaker, does not work properly.

“I myself am in a low percentage of people for my age to require a pacemaker,” said Galcatcher. “I experienced light headedness and dizziness with headaches through out the day. It worsened after a while. I experienced shortness of breath to the point of passing out randomly.”

A pacemaker has enabled Galcatcher to continue living her life.

For more information about heart health, visit www.heart.org.

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