Jumpstart Your Heart Action Plan

The heart is perhaps the body’s most beautiful muscle. Roughly the size of a clenched fist, this amazing machine beats approximately 100,000 times in a day and about 35 million times in a year. During an average lifetime, the human heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times. This powerful pump circulates oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to every cell in the human body. Have a heart and take good care of your ticker. Follow these heart-healthy steps to live better and longer.

Your Heart Numbers

The first step to taking care of your heart is to know key numbers. Keep up with annual physicals so your doctor can run the most critical screenings for heart disease. These include measuring:

\r\n\r\n• Weight and BMI (body mass index)
\r\n• Waist circumference
\r\n• Blood pressure
\r\n• Cholesterol
\r\n• Fasting blood sugar\r\n

\r\nBy knowing the results, your doctor can prescribe specific lifestyle changes, or in some cases, certain medications, to help manage any risk factors. If you smoke, ask your doctor to recommend a smoking cessation plan. Smoking is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries – which can lead to coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

\r\nIf you are not due for a physical, you still can learn and manage some of these numbers on your own. Certain pharmacies offer blood pressure screenings and blood glucose tests. Check your weight by stepping on a scale and determine your BMI with Dr. Oz's online calculator. Dr. Oz's online calculator.

4 Steps to Shedding Your Pandemic Pounds

Forgive yourself, and start walking toward a healthier you.

For those of you who have put on the Pandemic Pounds or added several new COVID Curves, you are not alone. Alarmingly, the American Psychological Association has recently published that almost half of all adults in their survey now have a larger physique. In fact, 42% of people reported gaining roughly 15 pounds (the average published was surprisingly 29 pounds but that included outliers) over the past year. Interestingly, 20% of adults in this survey lost about 12 pounds (I am surely not in this group). Clearly, there is a relationship between stress and weight change. In addition, one in four adults disclosed an increase in alcohol consumption, and 67% of participants distressingly revealed that they have new sleeping patterns.

This past year has brought about what has been called the 'new normal.' Social isolation and inactivity due to quarantining and remote working have sadly contributed to the decline in many people's mental and physical health, as demonstrated by the widespread changes in people's weight, alcohol consumption, and sleeping patterns. Gym closures, frequent ordering of unhealthy takeout, and increased time at home cooking and devouring comfort foods have had a perceptible impact. In addition, many people have delayed routine medical care and screening tests over fear of contracting Covid-19 during these visits. Unfortunately, the 'new normal' has now placed too many people at risk for serious health consequences, including heart attacks and strokes.

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