Serious as a Heart Attack

If there’s a male in your life, whether friend or family member, it’s important that you help them get on track with heart disease prevention. They might not want to listen, but it’s imperative that they do. Heart disease is still the number one killer of men in the U.S. And if you’re the guy,... Read more »
Shikhar Saxena, MD

Shikhar Saxena, MD

If there’s a male in your life, whether friend or family member, it’s important that you help them get on track with heart disease prevention. They might not want to listen, but it’s imperative that they do. Heart disease is still the number one killer of men in the U.S.

And if you’re the guy, here’s information you should take to heart!

Too many men wait until they have a first heart attack – that’s when they make lifestyle changes. Don’t let that happen to you.

That’s why we take every opportunity to remind men of their heart disease risks, and how to prevent a deadly heart attack.

The Risk Factors for Heart Disease:

  • Family history/genetics
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Stress

While you can’t change your family history and genetics, it’s certainly possible to change every other risk factor. With medication and lifestyle counseling we can get cholesterol, blood pressure, stress and diabetes under control.

Smoking cessation programs are highly successful – with excellent counseling and multiple options, including medications and nicotine-replacement methods, like the nicotine patch and gum. There’s really no excuse anymore. You can quit smoking!

The Threat of Obesity

Obesity, of course, is a primary risk factor that’s fueling the heart disease epidemic. Obesity affects your entire body – including blood sugar, diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure. If you get obesity under control, you get your health and your heart under control.

Lifestyle is the key. Nutrition, exercise and stress management are your tools. You’ve got to cut salt, sugar and harmful oils from your diet. That means cutting:

  • Sodas
  • Alcohol
  • Packaged food (jars and boxes)
  • Fried food

You’ve got to say no!

First Steps to Heart Health

  • Walk. That’s it, just walk. Everyone’s out there doing it. You’re not alone. Everyone is waking up to the importance of walking. Make it count – walk fast enough to get your heart rate up. Buy a heart rate monitor and wear it. They’re great gadgets!
  • Get 30 minutes of walking daily. Walk after dinner. Walk the dog more. Get 10 minutes here and there, walk on your lunch break – it adds up!
  • Mix it up. Take the stairs at work. Dance! Bike, swim, run. Get moving – then move even more. Make exercise and fresh air your hobby.
  • Track your progress. Activity tracking apps (like Endomondo) will record your feet, miles and calorie burn. You get a coach’s voice and great data!
  • Work with weights. Weight training builds muscle (so you look great!). But there’s a bonus –muscles burn calories even when you’re sitting. Perfect!
  • Eat healthy; eat right. Fish, salmon, lean chicken, vegetables, fruits, nuts (unsalted), whole grains, and olive oil. Go online and find some easy recipes. Cooking can be very gratifying.
  • Cut the worst foods. Just say no to fast food and processed food. Quit the burgers, fries, chips. Amen.
  • Switch drinks. Red wine is best for your heart. Just say no to the rest (most of the time). A beer now and then is fine. But the goal is to cut sugar – and alcohol is full of sugar. That’s a fact.
  • Meditate. It’s pretty simple and only takes a few minutes a day. Meditation has multiple heart-health benefits – largely because it reduces stress.

Don’t let a heart attack be your wakeup call. Once you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, you’re at much higher risk of having a second one – 100 times higher risk! Those are pretty staggering odds.

Healthy lifestyle is the new trend. More people are out walking in neighborhoods these days – even guys without dogs. Join the ranks of men making these lifestyle changes. They’re doing it so they can live longer. Live to see the kids and grandkids grow up. Live to enjoy all the moments that make life fun. Don’t risk losing all that.

 

Is it time to speak with a cardiologist about your heart disease risks?

To make an appointment with Dr. Shikhar Saxena, please call 800-922-0000.

Shikhar Saxena, MD

Cardiologist

Staff Weathers the Storm for Patient Care

Snow day 2 Across inpatient areas at Nebraska Medicine, leaders and staff prepared for Tuesday’s early morning snowstorm. Some slept at the hospital to ensure they were there Tuesday morning for our patients. Nursing Resource Coordinators Jen Stander, Jill Schaben and John Harnisch served as the point people to take staff “reservations” for beds while doing their regular work.... Read more »

Preventing the Top Killer – Heart Disease

Kiran Gangahar, MD Every day I see patients who know they should change their lifestyles. These people have heard from me that they are at risk for heart attack – but they resist making changes. They like certain foods; that’s it! They don’t like to exercise! They might change things a little, and that’s a start. But often... Read more »

Nurse Cares for Patient’s Dog

Benjamin, Charles Jones’ Yorkshire terrier, normally does not accompany him on his road trips. Fortunately, he was well cared for during his owner’s unexpected hospitalization, getting along quite well with Cassie Smith’s two Yorkshire terriers. It’s certainly a fine example of how we deliver Extraordinary Care. After Charles Jones was admitted to Nebraska Medicine – Nebraska Medical Center on Jan. 1, the only thing on his mind, besides the excruciating pain in his throat, was his 4-year-old Yorkshire terrier, Benjamin, sitting in his semi-tractor four blocks away, near the QT... Read more »