28 Days of Heart Health

From routine visits to life-threatening emergencies, we're here to deliver the best in Cardiovascular treatment. Treating your means treating you like family. That's the difference in our cardiac care. That's Valley Baptist Medical Center care.

1

Welcome!

Welcome!

February is American Heart Month, which is a good time to focus on your heart health.

Thank you for signing up for 28 Days of Heart Health, where you will receive heart healthy tips every day during the month of February. You will find recipes, exercise tips, and tools to help you live heart smart with each email you receive. 

The goal of Valley Baptist Health System is to provide support and compassion in any health situation, but especially when it comes to matters of your heart. We want to give you the help you deserve throughout the month of February and beyond to live a heart healthy life. 

Please enjoy 28 Days of Heart Health tips from Valley Baptist Health System, and we look forward to helping you live a healthier life.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
2

Heart Attack: Know the signs

A heart attack is an urgent message from your heart that it’s starved for oxygen. When a clot blocks a heart vessel, oxygen-rich blood can’t reach your heart. Then heart muscle starts to become damaged and symptoms of a heart attack begin. 

The sooner you get to the hospital the sooner treatment may start to help save your life and your heart muscle. 

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack 
Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, heaviness or pain. 

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms may include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, teeth or stomach.

Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness, pale or gray skin tone, cool, damp skin. 

Note for women: Like men, women most commonly have chest pain or discomfort as a heart attack symptom. But women are somewhat more likely than men to have some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting, back pain, or jaw pain. 

Don’t be afraid to call 911, even if you’re not sure you are having a heart attack. If you don’t know the cause of your symptoms, assume it’s a heart attack. Play it safe and get medical help.

The heart pumps blood throughout the body. A heart that works well is needed for good health. 

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
3

Healthy Heart Chili

If you’re looking to stay warm and try a protein packed dish this February, then this is for you! This Heart Healthy Chili recipe has plenty of vegetables and beans packed with fiber, vitamins and nutrients. You can enjoy this dish with brown rice and keep your heart on the right track.

Healthy Heart Chili

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 cans (15 oz.) kidney beans drained
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbls. Water
  • 3-4 tbls. chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Lightly sauté vegetables in water. Add tomatoes, kidney beans and chili powder. Cook covered for 1 hour on low heat. Serve over brown rice.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
4

Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

What is minimally invasive cardiac surgery? Society has certainly made “surgery” a word that doesn’t roll off the tongue in a gentle way. With advances in medical technology, minimally invasive cardiac surgery can certainly change your mind and your thought process. 

With minimally invasive cardiac surgery, surgeons are able to operate using the smallest incisions between your ribs rather than making large incisions in your chest. With minimally invasive surgery, patients may experience a short hospital stay, fewer complications, fewer transfusions and minimal scarring. 

Take advantage of each tip and fact this February and you may be able to receive the least invasive approach with no surgery. Do not hesitate to ask questions or find out more, and consult with your doctor. 

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
5

How the Heart Works

The heart pumps blood throughout the body. To maintain good health you need a heart that works well.

The Heart Muscle 
The heart muscle contracts (squeezes) and relaxes to pump blood to the lungs and body. To do its work, the heart muscle needs a constant supply of oxygen. Oxygen is supplied to the heart muscle by the coronary arteries. These are the blood vessels that wrap around the surface of the heart. 

The left main coronary artery branches into two arteries which supply blood to the back left side of the heart and the front left side of the heart. 

The right coronary artery supplies blood to the bottom, right side, and back of the heart muscle. 

Inside the Heart 
The inside of the heart is divided into right and left sides. Each side has an upper chamber called the atrium and a lower chamber called the ventricle. The two upper chambers (atria) receive blood from the lungs and body. When these chambers contract, blood is pumped to the two lower chambers. As the lower chambers contract, blood is pumped to the lungs from the right ventricle and to the body from the left ventricle.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
6

Exercise to Have a Stress Free Heart

Stress is a normal part of life. Stress can come from physical causes, such as not getting enough sleep or having an illness. Your body’s response to stress is designed to protect you, however, if you are constantly in stress mode, it can harm your body. 

Studies suggest that the high levels of cortisol, a hormone produced in response to stress, from chronic stress can increase blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. Here are some suggestions for managing stress and keeping your heart healthy.

Get plenty of exercise
Exercise can help counteract the harmful effects of chronic stress. For heart health, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity, such as brisk walking, every day or most days of the week.

To reduce your anxiety level, try stress-reduction techniques such as yoga, walking meditation, traditional meditation, guided imagery, or other techniques. Sometimes talking about problems that may cause you stress can help. Experiment until you find a resolution and system that works for you. If none of these techniques work, ask your doctor about taking medication for anxiety. 

Please seek the counsel of your physician before you start an exercise program.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
7

Summer Squash Sauté

Summer squash in February? Why not?

This recipe contains 149 calories and will get you the proper nutrients and protein every meal needs, especially at dinnertime. Enjoy the squash over half a chicken breast, lean beef or salmon or consider trying spaghetti squash in place of pasta in your dish. 

Summer Squash Sauté
A picture of the dish this recipe makes

Ingredients

1 lb. summer squash, yellow or green
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
2 tbsp. basil
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese (2 tbsp. per serving)

Directions
Wash and trim ends of squash. Cut lengthwise and the cut horizontally in half-inch slices. Pieces should be bite-size (they’ll shrink when you cook them).

Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Sauté onion, pepper and garlic. Add squash and stir, about three minutes until tender. Add basil and whole cherry tomatoes. Stir just until tomatoes are heated and ready to pop, about two to three minutes longer. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately. 

Nutritional Information:
Makes four servings. Each serving contains about 149 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated fat) 7 mg cholesterol, 176 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 3 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugars, and 6 g protein.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
8

Know Your Genes

Your family history, genetics and characteristics that you acquire from your family are important but knowing your family genetics and medical history is even more significant. It’s easier to know the more obvious factors of your family like hair and eye color, height and weight. This February, if you do not already know, ask a family member if anyone in your family has had heart disease, hypertension, diabetes or vascular issues. Being aware and proactive about your health is just as important as receiving daily exercise and eating a healthy diet. Be proactive in finding out what kind of health your relatives have. Do they tend to live longer and healthier lives? Are they smokers? Finding out your family history can benefit you and your family this heart month! 

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
9

When Would I See a Cardiologist?

A cardiologist is not a person’s primary health care provider. Cardiologists only work with patients who need special heart-related care. Other doctors may consult with them with questions about heart disease or other conditions. Your health care provider may refer you to a cardiologist if you have symptoms of heart or blood vessel problems. There are different symptoms for different issues of the heart. Shortness of breath with activity or laying down, feeling full or having pain in the abdomen with small meals, and leg edema may be related to heart failure. Chest pressure, tightness in arm or jaw, shortness of breath with activity, jaw and back pain can be related to a heart attack. If you are experiencing dizziness or passing out, excessive fatigue or heart palpitations, these symptoms may be related to heart rhythm issues. 

What does a cardiologist do?
A cardiologist diagnoses and treats diseases of the heart and blood vessels. These include:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Valve problems
  • Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)

Cardiologists work in hospitals and in private practices. If you see a cardiologist, he or she may:

  • Give you a physical exam
  • Order special tests, such as an ECG, blood test, or exercise test
  • Interpret the results of tests to diagnose a health condition you may have
  • Prescribe treatment, such as medication
  • Advise lifestyle changes, such as changes in your diet, weight, stress and physical activity
  • Counsel you on risks and prevention
  • Do some procedures, such as cardiac catheterization or implant a pacemaker
  • Refer you to a cardiac surgeon if you need heart surgery or another procedure

Some cardiologists also teach in universities and do research. They may help to develop new treatments for heart problems.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
10

Fats 101: Grilled Lemon Chicken

Bad cholesterol in the blood that is high, also known as LDL, is directly associated with increased risk of cardiovascular complications. Certain foods are directly related to increased LDL blood levels. Ingestion of products with high concentrations of trans fats, cholesterol or saturated fat is proportional to increased blood levels of LDL. One example is red meat. Beef has the highest natural concentration of trans fat as well as saturated fat and cholesterol. For a heart healthy diet, reduce your intake of red meats and avoid fast food! You can start off by trying different recipes like the Grilled Lemon-Sage Chicken alongside corn on the cob.

Grilled Lemon-Sage Chicken
A picture of sage representing this recipe 
 
Ingredients
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 4 ounces each)
6 lemon slices, cut in half (optional)
Fresh sage leaves (optional)

Marinade
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. dried, crushed
2 or 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. black peppercorns, cracked
½ tsp. salt

Directions
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the marinade ingredients.

Discard all the visible fat from the chicken. Put the chicken with the smooth side up between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a tortilla press, the smooth side of a meat mallet, or a rolling pin, lightly flatten the chicken to a thickness of ¼ inch, being careful not to tear the meat. Add to the marinade. Seal the bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to eight hours, turning occasionally. Discard the marinade.

Preheat the grill on medium-high.

Grill the chicken for 6 to 7 minutes on each side, or until no longer pink in the center.

To serve, garnish with the lemon slices and sage leaves.

Nutritional Information:
Makes six servings. Each serving provides: calories 125, total fat 1.5 g, cholesterol 66 mg, sodium 268 mg, carbohydrates 0 g, fiber 0 g, sugar 0 g, protein 26 g.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
11

Stroke: Know the Signs & Symptoms

People with heart disease or at risk for heart disease are also at risk for a stroke. The reason is that many of the same disease processes that affect arteries to the heart also damage arteries in the neck that lead to the brain. Specifically, the accumulation of cholesterol and plaque in these arteries is called carotid artery disease, which is the cause of about one third of all strokes. As with heart disease, the risk factors for carotid artery disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and personal or family history of heart attack or stroke.

A stroke is when a part of the brain is not receiving oxygen and nutrients by a blood vessel that is being blocked by a clot or bursts. When this happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs and vessels and brain cells die. 

It is very important that you recognize if you or your loved one are showing signs of a stroke.  To easily remember this, use the abbreviation F.A.S.T.

Facial drooping: a downward slant of the side of the face

Arm weakness: unable to raise both arms on command

Speech difficulties: unable to produce words or slurred speech 

Time: treatment for a stroke is time sensitive. 
If the above signs are observed, call 911 immediately.

Time is the most important factor when it comes to a stroke. Call 911 immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Anyone over the age of 50 with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and personal or family history of heart attack or stroke should be monitored by their physician for carotid artery disease.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
12

Vascular Disease: DVT – Deep Vein Thrombosis

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

It doesn't sound like a term most people use in their day-to-day conversations. DVT is related to the vascular system of the body and occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling, and it can sometimes occur without any noticeable signs or symptoms. Some tips for folks who travel a lot on planes or are in cars for long periods of time should try and get up and move around from time to time, especially on extended flights.

Sitting in the same position can cause the blood to clot in legs. Here are a few tips to try wherever you may be going or traveling to. While sitting in your chair, do a few leg extensions or stretches to keep blood flow constant and moving. Try lifting your toes then lifting your heels back and forth. Stand up frequently to walk to the restroom or in the aisle. Wearing compression socks or stockings are also very useful.

Make sure to consult with your physician with any questions or concerns you may have.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
13

Kale & Pomegranate Salad

This kale and pomegranate salad can be made within minutes! This salad, alongside its tasty refreshing dressing is a snap to make. Kale contains several different vitamins and is a low calorie food. Paired with a great fruit like pomegranate, protein from the walnuts (use any or no nuts if you’d like), and a delicious and healthy salad dressing is sure to please your dinner table this February. 

Kale and Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients
1 bunch of kale
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
Pomegranate seeds from 1 whole pomegranate**
¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted 

Directions
1) Rinse and pat dry kale. Roll up leaves tightly and cut into thin strips. Place in large bowl.
2) In medium bowl whisk together honey, Dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar. Gradually whisk in olive oil.
3) Pour dressing onto kale and toss to coat evenly.
4) Stir in feta cheese, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutrition Facts:
Makes 8 cups
1 Cup Serving Provides:
97.2 Calories, 5g Fat, 12g Carbohydrate, 2.7g Fiber, 6g Sugar, 3.3g Protein

**How to deseed pomegranate in minutes and with no mess: Cut pomegranate in half. Submerge pomegranate half in a bowl of water in the sink and squeeze seeds out. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the pith will rise to the top. Pick out any remaining seeds still stuck to the pith. Skim all of the pith that has floated to the top and then drain the seeds in a colander.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
14

Heart Attack: Men vs. Women

What is a heart attack? A heart attack is when one or more regions of the heart muscle experience a severe or prolonged lack of oxygen caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle.

Symptoms of a heart attack in women can be very different from men. Women may experience the “non-classic” symptoms of a heart attack such as pain or discomfort in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes, or goes away and then comes back, chest discomfort with sweating, pain that spreads from the chest to the arm, neck or jaw, shortness of breath, tiredness, or upset stomach. 

Men may experience painful burning, squeezing or fullness in the chest, discomfort in other areas of the upper body and lightheadedness.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
15

Apple Coffee Cake

Eating heart-healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself, just make sure you do so in a healthy way. Apple coffee cake is a great way to cure that sweet craving you may be having and you won't feel bad about it afterwards! This cake gets its moistness from the apples and raisins, so it requires little oil. 

Apple Coffee Cake
A picture of granny smith apples representing this recipe 

Ingredients
5 cups tart apples, cored, peeled, finely chopped
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark, plump raisins
½ cup pecans, chopped
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, beaten
2½ cups sifted, all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine apples with sugar, raisins, and pecans; mix well. Let stand 30 minutes. Stir in oil, vanilla, and egg. Sift together flour, soda, and cinnamon. Stir into apple mixture about one-third at a time. Turn mixture into pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cake slightly before serving.

Nutritional Information:
Makes 20 servings, Each 3.5-by-2.5-inch serving contains: 241 calories, 5 g fat, 57 mg cholesterol, 273 mg sodium, 45 g carbohydrates

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
16

Understanding Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral Arterial Disease, also known as PAD, can be intimidating and even a hard phrase to say. However, it is important to understand and know what it is and to look for signs. PAD is a disease of the arteries in the body as one of the first symptoms being leg pain. When you have PAD, you are also at a high risk of heart attack and heart disease. It is highly important to watch your blood pressure if you are at risk or already have PAD. Manage your blood pressure by getting plenty of exercise, making changes in your diet and taking medications that your doctor has prescribed. 

Changing your diet is extremely necessary as PAD can be obtained from eating too many fatty foods. Cholesterol in fatty foods can build up in your blood stream and clog your arteries. This is why it is so important to eat foods that are fresh, low in carbohydrates and low in sodium. 

Take care of your heart each month but pay extra attention this February to better your heart health but lifestyle changes that you can benefit from. 

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
17

Difference Between Heart Attack & Stroke

A heart attack occurs when the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen due to a blood clot or breakaway pieces of plaque restricting its’ blood supply. Parts of the heart muscle may start to die in moments. The patient may experience: 

  • Pressure or tightness in the chest
  • Back pain between the shoulder blades
  • Feeling of indigestion
  • Aching or discomfort in arms, neck or jaw 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Profuse sweating
  • Weakness 
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling faint 

A stroke or brain attack occurs when a part of the brain is deprived of oxygen and glucose by blood supply being interrupted by a clot, detached plaque or a ruptured blood vessel (aneurysm). The patient may experience any or all of the following symptoms: 

  • Sudden headache for no obvious reason
  • Sudden dizziness or unsteadiness including unexplained loss of balance
  • Sudden unexplained falls 
  • Sudden uncharacteristic confusion
  • Sudden loss of speech or 'slurred' speech
  • Sudden difficulty talking or making sense of normal conversation 
  • Sudden dimness or loss of vision, usually in one eye 
  • Difficulty recognizing familiar objects/faces etc
  • Sudden onset weakness (as if gravity had increased) on one side of the body affecting any of the leg, arm or facial/mouth/tongue muscles
  • Numbness and or drooping of one side of the face
  • Sudden inability to swallow
  • Sudden memory loss

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
18

Lime Shrimp Kebabs

Our hearts need omega-3 fatty acids and foods that are enriched in heart-healthy fats. Love your heart by being aware and proactive to better your health. Make cooking dinner fun and a thing to enjoy by cooking a healthy meal rather than picking up fast food. This February, enjoy and try these Lime Shrimp Kebabs! For a quick, easy, and heart healthy meal, add a green salad and fresh corn on the cob and you’re good to go.

Lime Shrimp Kebabs

A picture of lime shrimp kababs representing this recipe

Ingredients
3 large limes
2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, cleaned and chopped
16 large shrimp, uncooked, deveined
10 medium cherry tomatoes, rinsed and dried
10 small white-button mushrooms, wiped clean and stems removed

Directions
In a measuring cup, squeeze limes, yielding ¼ cup of juice. Add the garlic, pepper, olive oil, and cilantro and stir. Place the shrimp in a medium bowl and pour the cilantro lime marinade over the shrimp. Let the shrimp marinate for 10 to 15 minutes in the refrigerator. Alternate cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and shrimp on four skewers. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Grill the skewers for three to four minutes on each side until the shrimp are just cooked through.

Makes two servings

Each serving contains 160 calories, 6 g fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium, and 17 g carbohydrates.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
19

Managing Blood Pressure

Nearly one-third of all Americans have high blood pressure but how many of us know how to manage it? It can be very exhausting and frustrating trying to manage blood pressure but it is achievable. Getting plenty of weekly exercise and monitoring your salt intake are huge factors when it comes to blood pressure. Limiting serving sizes at meal time, choosing foods in high fiber, making better food choices when it comes to low calorie and fat and taking prescribed medications if your doctor has you on a prescription all may help manage and benefit you if you suffer from high blood pressure. Please seek the counsel of your physician before you start an exercise program.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
20

Diabetes & Heart Disease – Strawberry Spinach Salad

Most of us know that diabetes may lead to severe complications, such as blindness, kidney disease, and amputations if not addressed soon enough. But did you know that diabetes also greatly increases the risk for cardiovascular disease? It's a fact: Heart disease, stroke, and their complications are the leading causes of illness and death in people with diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), heart disease affects people with diabetes twice as often as people who don't have diabetes, and it affects them at an earlier age. According to the CDC National Diabetes Fact Sheet 2011, cardiovascular disease causes more than two-thirds of deaths in people with diabetes.

People with diabetes also are two to four times more likely to have a stroke than people without diabetes, the CDC says.

Prevention tips:

  • If you have diabetes, the ADA lists several ways you can reduce your risk for developing heart disease:
  • Keep your A1C (or hemoglobin A1C) level around 7 percent. This test measures your average blood sugar during the previous three months. You should have this level checked at least twice a year, or more frequently if recommended by your doctor. One important new guideline in patients with multiple risk factors for heart disease and strokes is the addition of a Statin. A Statin is a group of medications that can help reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes and thus prolongs survival. Ask your doctor if you are already taking one of these medications and if so, ask if the dose is the right for you. There is actually a formula design to evaluate the best dose for you based on race, gender, blood pressure readings, total cholesterol, smoking, history of HTN and DM.
  • Keep your blood pressure at less than 140/90 mmHg. You should have your blood pressure checked each time you visit your health care provider.
  • Keep your LDL ("bad") cholesterol level at less than 100 mg/dL through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and medications, if necessary. LDL is the main source for cholesterol buildup and blockage of arteries. Your cholesterol should be checked at least once a year.
  • Keep your HDL ("good") cholesterol level at 40 mg/dL or higher for men, and at 50 mg/dL or higher for women. HDL carries cholesterol from the blood to the liver, where it is removed from the body.
  • Keep your triglycerides level at 150 mg/dL or lower.
  • Lifestyle changes that may help reduce your risk for developing heart disease include quitting smoking; losing weight, if needed; getting regular exercise; and eating foods with less saturated fat and cholesterol like this strawberry spinach salad recipe which is low in calories and sodium.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
A picture of strawberry spinach salad representing this recipe

Dressing
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil. Add sugar and cook until syrupy, about three minutes. Remove from heat and stir in olive oil. It may appear to separate.

Salad
4 cups baby spinach
2 cups strawberries (whole if they’re small; halved or quartered if large)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

Wash and dry spinach. Put into a large salad bowl with strawberries and onion. Pour warm (not hot) dressing over spinach salad. Toss and serve immediately.

Makes four servings

Each contains about 99 calories, 4 g fat, 0 g cholesterol, 30 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate, 3 g dietary fiber, 11 g sugars, and 2 g protein.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
21

Southwestern Spaghetti Squash & Turkey Meatballs

Combining a protein such as turkey meatballs served with spaghetti squash is a perfectly paired meal and a great example of a heart poultry recipe provided by the American Heart Association. Use ground breast-meat turkey for your meatballs. Ground breast-meat turkey is the most lean of breast meats.

Southwestern Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Meatballs
A picture of spaghetti and meatballs representing this recipe

Ingredients
4 cups spaghetti squash, cooked using whatever method you prefer; if your squash is large, you’ll have more than you need for this recipe
1/2 lb. ground breast-meat turkey
1 tbsp. minced onion
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tbsp. dried basil
2 tbsp. breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 14.5-oz. cans petite cut diced tomatoes with jalapenos
2 oz. Monterey jack cheese
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Directions
Mix turkey with minced onion, parsley, basil, and breadcrumbs. Mix in egg. Form into 12 meatballs—each about a rounded tablespoon.

Heat oil in a skillet. Brown meatballs evenly, about five minutes total. Pour tomatoes over meatballs and heat for about five minutes. Meatballs will be cooked through and tomatoes heated.

To serve: Put about 1 cup of squash on each plate and top with meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle with Monterey jack cheese and cilantro.

Makes four servings

Each serving contains about 297 calories, 14 g fat (5 g saturated fat, no trans fat, 110 mg cholesterol), 990 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 4 g dietary fiber, 10 g sugars, and 18 g protein.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
22

Menopause: Women & Heart Risks

Subtle symptoms
The stage for heart disease is set before menopause by risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, extra weight (especially around the waist), inactivity and smoking—all factors that play a part in plaque buildup. 
The hormone changes at the onset of perimenopause and menopause will aggravate all of these risk factors, particularly if they were a struggle before menopause. It is well known that women do not experience ‘classic’ symptoms of heart disease. Symptoms should not be ignored. A simple screening test for coronary plaque can be done with minimal radiation exposure and no dye. This can detect even microscopic plaque in the artery wall that once recognized would prompt more aggressive lifestyle modification and the initiation of heart medications and nutritional supplements aimed at halting the progression of disease.

Know your numbers
You should know your blood pressure, your weight, your blood sugar and your cholesterol.

Preventing or controlling heart disease can be achieved by making sure your numbers are under control, often simply by making changes in the way you live. A healthy heart requires a personal action plan that includes a heart healthy diet and routine aerobic exercise program. The addition of a strength training program will help prevent osteoporosis as well as boost metabolism which may help with weight control. The added benefit to these heart healthy lifestyle changes is a reduction in some of the menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia.

Menopause treatment
There are many issues that factor into the decision to pursue hormone replacement therapy. These issues should be discussed with your primary care provider, gynecologist or your cardiologist. It is not necessary to just “suffer through it.”

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
23

Apricot Glazed Salmon

A great heart healthy fish to cook with and eat is salmon. Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are great for everyone, and as reported by the American Heart Association: they can benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of or have cardiovascular disease. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which may lead to sudden death. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and lower blood pressure (slightly). 

Apricot Glazed Baked Salmon

Ingredients:
1 pound salmon filet, wild
½ tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. salt

Glaze:
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic 
1/4 cup apricot preserves, no sugar added
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  

2. Rub salmon with olive oil and spices.  Place salmon on a baking sheet (skin side down) lined with foil. Bake salmon for 10 minutes.

3. While the salmon is in the oven, sauté minced garlic in olive oil over Medium High Heat in a saucepan for 1 minute.  Add remaining ingredients to saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  

4. Remove salmon from oven and spoon apricot glaze on top of salmon filets.  Return salmon to oven and bake for 2-5 more minutes or until salmon is cooked through.

Serve with a whole grain side such as couscous or brown rice and a vegetable for a complete heart healthy meal in minutes.

Nutrition Facts per 4 ounce serving:

Each serving contains about 231 calories, Protein 22.6 g, Total Fat 9.76 g, Sodium 203 mg, Total Carbs 12.88 g

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
24

What is an Arrhythmia?

An arrhythmia is an abnormal rhythm of the heart that is powered by a built-in electrical system. The heart is a pump made of muscle tissue. Its pumping action is regulated by an electrical conduction system that coordinates the contractions of the four chambers of the heart. Problems with this electrical conduction system may cause an arrhythmia. 

Arrhythmias may cause the heart to pump less effectively because the coordination of the heart muscle becomes uncoordinated. Certain arrhythmias increase your risk of other medical problems like stroke or blood clots. 

What are the symptoms of arrhythmias?

The most common symptom of arrhythmias or heart rhythm disorders is palpitations (a sensation of pounding, skipping, or fluttering in the chest).  Other common symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, and syncope (fainting). The effects on the body are often the same, however, whether the heartbeat is too fast, too slow, or too irregular. Some symptoms of arrhythmias include, but are not limited to:

  • Palpitations (a sensation of fluttering or irregularity of the heartbeat)
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Heart failure
  • Collapse and cardiac arrest
  • Difficulty feeding (in babies)

The symptoms of arrhythmias may resemble other conditions. Consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
25

Chicken and Mushroom Pasta

Chicken is always a great source of protein but paired with whole-wheat pasta and a heart healthy vegetable like mushrooms, you are set for an enriched meal. This is a recipe that is easy, time friendly and a meal you can enjoy on your own and also a meal that is great to eat with a your family and friends. Since this is just a scrumptious meal, remember to eat a single serving and not to over eat. It may be tempting with delicious dishes like this one!

Ingredients
2 c. rigatoni pasta (or other tube-shaped pasta)
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
3 c. white button mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
½ c. low-sodium chicken broth
¼ c. dry white wine (or chicken broth)
1 c. tomatoes, chopped
¼ c. fresh basil, shredded
1 tbsp. dried oregano
¼ c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions
Cook pasta, drain, and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the black pepper on chicken, then cook for 5 minutes or until center of chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm.

Add remainder of the oil to skillet with garlic, mushrooms, and onions. Stir-fry until onions are just tender.

Pour in broth and wine, then bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until liquid is reduced to about half, stirring occasionally (about 5 to 10 minutes.)

Remove skillet from heat. Add the pasta, chicken, tomatoes, basil, and oregano; toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Makes six servings

Each serving provides about 294 calories, 7 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 36 mg cholesterol 225 mg sodium, 33 g total carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugars, 22 g protein.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
26

Heart Attack - Heart Failure

What is the difference between a heart attack and heart failure? Are they the same? 

A heart attack is when one or more regions of the heart muscle experience a severe or prolonged lack of oxygen caused by blocked blood flow of the heart muscle. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough oxygenated blood to aid all of the organs in the body. The heart keeps pumping but not as efficiently as a healthy heart would. A heart attack and heart failure are similar in that some of their symptoms may be the same such as shortness of breath, feeling fatigued or tired, however, when a person is having a heart attack, it is more urgent. If you or you know someone that may be experiencing any signs of a heart attack, please call 911 and consult your physician immediately. 

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
27

Crunchy Chicken Salad

Try this low calorie and low sodium crunchy chicken salad that has beneficial protein and heart healthy enriched ingredients such as plain yogurt, fruits and vegetables.

Crunchy Chicken Salad
A picture of a chicken salad sandwich representing this recipe

Ingredients
2 cups chunked cooked chicken
½ cup celery
¼ cup green pepper
¼ onion
½ cucumber
1 small diced apple (leave the peel on)
½ cup grapes
¼ cup yogurt, plain

Directions
Use leftover cooked chicken, or cook enough chicken to make 2 cups of chicken pieces.
Chop the celery and green pepper. Peel and chop ¼ of an onion. Peel and chop half of a cucumber.
Chop the apple into pieces. It’s okay to leave the peel on the apple. Cut the grapes in half.
Put all the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir together.
Serve on lettuce, crackers, or bread.

Makes five servings

Each serving is about ¾ cup each and provides: 140 calories, 4.5 g fat, 65 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 17 g protein.

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close
28

Thank You!

As we come to the end of our 28 Days of Heart Health, please remember to schedule your yearly check-up and take care of your heart. Use our friendly facts and tips that we have provided the last 27 days from ​Valley Baptist Health System. 

Thank you for taking the time to read our heart healthy facts and tips this month. We want to ensure that you receive the care and quality you need for a heart-happy life. 

Find a trusted doctor near you. Finding a doctor doesn't need to be challenging. Let Valley Baptist make it easier. Find a cardiologist now.


Close