Keep your heart healthy with these tips

28283250_MFebruary is Heart Health Month, a great time to learn more about keeping your heart healthy. Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States? Every year, 1 in 4 deaths nationwide are caused by heart disease. The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented with a healthy lifestyle and proper management of health conditions.

It’s also important to know that heart disease doesn’t happen just to older adults. Younger adults are increasingly developing heart disease as well. Here are the most important ways to keep your heart healthy:

  • Schedule regular checkups and physicals with your doctor. Regular checkups and health screenings are vital to preventing a wide range of medical conditions, including heart disease.
  • Know your blood pressure. About half of people with high blood pressure don’t have it under control, placing them at greater risk for heart disease. Having uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the biggest risks for heart disease and other harmful conditions, such as stroke.
  • If you smoke, consider the benefits of quitting. Smoking damages blood vessels and can lead to heart disease.
  • Reduce sodium intake. Diets high in sodium, trans-fat, saturated fat, and added sugar increase the risk factor for heart disease.
  • Get exercise. Being a couch potato puts you at greater risk for heart disease. Staying physically active helps keep the heart healthy. Exercise and a healthy diet can help you lose extra weight. Being overweight or obese puts stress on the heart.
  • Adopt a healthier diet. Try to fill at least half of your plate at each meal with vegetables and fruits. Try to incorporate more vegetarian meals into your diet.

Take this opportunity to help others embrace heart health as well. If you have family members who have heart disease or are at risk for heart disease or have high blood pressure, help them meet the same goals you are setting for yourself.

Vein issues can ruin travel

29445344 - blonde casual caucasian lady napping while traveling by trainAAA forecasted in 2018 that nearly ⅓ of Americans traveled for the holiday season. If this past year, you were one of the many crowding the airports and highways, you are not alone. Holiday travel is a time-honored tradition and one that is often unpleasant. Many of us feel tired and sore after long days of travel. Those feelings usually fade, but sometimes they don’t. If you have undiagnosed venous issues like varicose, spider veins or even a vein ulcer, the pain of travel can linger for long after you return home.

If you have vein issues, you may experience a few of these common symptoms after a long day of travel:

  • Swollen legs or ankles
  • Painful spots or sores on your legs
  • Bulging veins
  • Itchy spots on your legs
  • Painful muscle cramping
  • Heavy, sore legs

Most of us have a few of these issues after a long day of travel. It’s not fun to stand and wait in long lines at ticket counters or crunch your feet up in the ever-shrinking airplane seat. Sitting in a car for hours at a time is hard on your back and your legs. But if you are always sore after even just a few hours in a car or plane seat, it may be a sign of a more significant vein problem. The cramped position of sitting for hours at a time can be hard on your circulation, which can damage the valves in your veins. This damage can cause blockages or clots that can lead to varicose or spider veins. Over time, the blockage can get worse and more painful until you notice a purple or blue vein cluster.

Once varicose or spider veins clusters appear, the problem will get worse. Many of our patients report feelings of embarrassment, shame and anxiety over showing their legs in public with obvious vein issues. They forgo tropical vacations, swimming activities or even wearing shorts or dresses in warm weather because they don’t want people to see their legs. That’s no way to live or travel. We offer treatments that remove the problem areas over time so you can feel confident showing off your legs and enjoying your trips.

Don’t wait until the problem is apparent. If traveling is becoming more uncomfortable for you, come in and let us take a look. We can identify potential issues before they get worse and offer timely treatment. Travel should be fun. Don’t let vein issues ruin your trip.