Heart Health Tips for the Summer

Did you know that having a chronic disease, such as heart disease, reduces your body’s ability to defend against heat-related illnesses? If you plan to exercise outdoors this summer, talk to your heart doctor about ways of doing so safely. Additionally, your cardiology team can give you some heart-healthy tips of enjoying the summer months with better meal ideas and ways of improving your health while on vacation.

The fitness club

Exercise Safely
Your cardiologist can give you recommendations regarding how much water you need to drink before, during, and after exercise to prevent heat-related illnesses. Choose workout clothes that are white or light in color and are made of lightweight fabrics. When the weather is particularly hot and muggy, consider exercising indoors instead. Additionally, be aware of the symptoms of heat-related illnesses, such as headache, dizziness, shallow breathing, nausea, and confusion. Seek medical help if you experience any of these symptoms.

Plan Heart-Healthy Gatherings
Barbecues are popular means of reconnecting with friends and family members. Instead of chowing down on ribs and burgers; however, try to  make your cookout more heart-healthy . Marinate some fresh fish fillets with lemon juice or grill chicken tenders without the skin. Instead of pairing your protein with French fries, build a veggie kabob with peppers, zucchini, and other healthy choices.

Improve Your Road Trips
Road trips are the quintessential summer vacation. Unfortunately, sitting down for long periods of time isn’t good for your heart. Take advantage of rest areas along your route; get out of the car and take a brisk walk or play Frisbee for a little while before resuming your trip. Remember to pack heart-healthy snacks such as fruit.

For more heart-healthy advice,  schedule an appointment  with the cardiology team at Cardiac Solutions. Call our heart clinics at (623) 208-5305 and ask us about our patient classes to help you learn about living well with cardiovascular problems. Our cardiologists welcome new patients from the Sun City West, Avondale, Peoria, and Phoenix areas, and beyond.

How Summer Heat Affects Your Heart Health

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a heart condition , your cardiologist has probably recommended lifestyle changes, a medication regimen, and other treatment methods. While you may already know that your diet can affect your heart health, you might not know that the weather can, too. Before the temperatures rise this summer, talk to your heart doctor about what you need to know to keep your heart healthy.

Toweling after a Run

Increased Stress on the Heart
Your body naturally produces heat as glucose is converted to energy. Additionally, your body maintains a relatively high internal temperature. However, the air temperature can upset this balance. Since your body can’t manufacture less heat, it must disperse of the excess heat. It can do so via radiation. When the temperatures outdoors rise, the blood vessels relax, enabling greater blood flow. This allows blood to flow to the cooler skin, radiating heat to the air. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t work when the temperature outdoors is close to your body temperature. Your body can also cool itself down by sweating; however, this is ineffective when the humidity is above 75 percent. Both of these methods exert  excess amounts of stress on your heart . While those without heart conditions may not notice any ill effects, those with atherosclerosis and other heart issues may suffer the consequences. Excess heat can worsen certain medical conditions such as heart failure.

Increased Risk of Heat-Related Illnesses
Those with heart conditions have an increased risk of heat-related illnesses that can be life-threatening, such as heat stroke. This can be due to medications often used for heart conditions, which lower the water content of the bloodstream. This can lead to dehydration. Other medications, such as beta blockers, slow the heartbeat and limit circulation, preventing the body from cooling itself via radiation.

Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of heat strokes and heat exhaustion.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion:  Headaches, heavy sweating, cold, moist skin, chills, dizziness or fainting, weak and rapid pulse, muscle cramps, fast shallow breathing, nausea, vomiting.
Symptoms of heat stroke : warm, dry skin with no sweating, strong and rapid pulse, confusion or unconsciousness, high fever, throbbing headaches, nausea, vomiting or both.

The cardiology team at  Cardiac Solutions  offers extensive patient support and education initiatives to help you learn how to live well after being diagnosed with a heart condition. For more information about safeguarding your heart health this summer, schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified cardiologists in Peoria, Sun City West, Avondale, or Glendale. You can reach us at (623) 208-5305.

The Worst and Best Foods for Your Heart Health

If your heart doctor has diagnosed you with a cardiovascular condition such as heart disease or valve disease, you may be taking medications and exploring other treatment options. Although it’s critical to follow your cardiologist’s treatment plan, it’s also advisable to consider lifestyle modifications in addition to therapeutic interventions. Your diet has a direct effect on your heart health. If you are looking for a great diet, the Mediterranean diet is something you should really consider. Talk to your cardiologist about your usual diet and find ways of improving it. 

Salmon dinner

Worst: Sugar
Most Americans eat far too much added sugar from sources such as processed foods, sports drinks, and gourmet coffee. Eating a diet high in sugar has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease due to higher triglyceride levels and high blood pressure. Cardiologists recommend limiting the amount of added sugar you eat to no more than six teaspoons daily for women or no more than nine teaspoons for men.

Worst: Trans Fat
Trans fat is found naturally in animal products; however, manufacturers also add it to processed foods. It’s harmful for your heart because it raises levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is the harmful type of cholesterol. It also lowers levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is the beneficial type.

Best: Whole Grains
If your diet contains plenty of whole grains, you could have a reduced risk of heart disease.  Whole grains boost your heart health  because they are high in fiber, which improves cholesterol levels. They also contain antioxidants, phytosterols, and phytoestrogens, which ward off coronary disease.

Best: Fish
Instead of eating a burger, consider broiling some fish. Cardiologists recommend eating two or more servings of fish each week, especially oily fish such as salmon. The omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your blood pressure and triglyceride levels.

For more help making healthy lifestyle modifications to improve your cardiovascular condition,  schedule an appointment  at Cardiac Solutions. Our cardiology team will work closely with you to develop a plan that suits your needs. Call our cardiology clinics in Avondale, Glendale, Peoria, or Sun City West at (623) 208-5305 with any questions you may have.

Preparing for a Duplex Ultrasound

There are many different diagnostic tools a heart doctor may use to determine the underlying causes of a patient’s symptoms. One of those diagnostic tests is known as a duplex ultrasound. This test allows the cardiologist to evaluate the way in which your blood moves through your blood vessels. This type of test uses sound waves to create images of your blood vessels and the blood within them, and it enables the cardiologist to measure how fast your blood is flowing.

Cigarettes

Talking to Your Cardiologist
Before you undergo a duplex ultrasound, it’s a good idea to talk to your cardiologist about the test. Learn why your cardiologist is recommending the test for you and ask which type of duplex ultrasound you’ll be having. For example, a carotid duplex ultrasound is performed to evaluate the carotid artery, which is located in your neck.

Preparing for the Test
Call the cardiology clinic ahead of your test and ask if there are any special preparations you need to make. Although most patients are not asked to make special preparations, some may need to restrict their food and liquid intake. You should also inform the technician performing the test of any medications you’re taking, such as blood thinners, and whether you smoke.  Smoking can affect your results  since it constricts the blood vessels.

Learning What to Expect
When you arrive at the cardiology clinic, you’ll likely be asked to change into a hospital gown. After lying down on the exam table, the technician will apply gel to the area that requires an evaluation. Then, a handheld device is moved over the area. Try to remain as still as possible unless you are asked to move to a certain position.

If you have any questions about preparing for an upcoming cardiology exam, contact  Cardiac Solutions  at (623) 208-5305. Our cardiology team proudly serves residents of the Glendale, Peoria, Avondale, and Sun City West areas. We emphasize the importance of patient education on heart health and the value of a team-oriented, personalized approach.

Understanding How Heart Disease Affects Women

Heart disease affects men and women in different ways. For both genders, heart disease often involves the buildup of plaque on the walls of the coronary arteries, which reduces blood flow. The plaque can rupture, which causes a blood clot to form, potentially leading to a heart attack. While this series of events can occur in the same manner for men and women, cardiologists often warn women that heart disease affects many more women than it does men. In fact, more women die from heart disease than from cancer.

Plus, when women experience heart attacks, they are generally more severe than they are for men. Women are more likely to die than men during the first year after a heart attack. Furthermore, they’re much more likely to suffer a second heart attack. Diagnosing heart problems in women is often more challenging because women are more likely to experience much more subtle signs of a heart attack than men.

Women can protect themselves by working with a board-certified cardiologist to improve their heart health. Those in the Glendale, Peoria, and Avondale areas can call Cardiac Solutions at (623) 208-5305 to learn more about heart health.

Improving Your Heart Health

There are many steps you can take to improve your heart health and reduce your risk of heart disease or a heart attack. Cardiologists recommend seeing your doctor regularly to check your blood pressure and measure your cholesterol levels. It’s important to take any medications as prescribed to manage hypertension or high cholesterol levels. Another way to improve your heart health is to practice healthy stress management techniques.

For more heart-healthy tips, watch this video. You’ll hear a cardiologist explain what a typical Mediterranean diet is and how it can help your cardiovascular health. He also offers recommendations on the amount of cardiovascular exercise you should get each week.

For a customized plan to improve your heart health , you can turn to the trusted cardiologists at Cardiac Solutions. Call (623) 208-5305 to reach our cardiology clinics in Glendale, Phoenix, Peoria, Avondale, or Sun City West.

Valve Repair Treatment Options

The valves of your heart enable blood to empty from the chambers and prevent blood from flowing backward. However, sometimes the valves don’t work the way they should. They may leak or they may become too tight, preventing sufficient blood to flow through. If your heart doctor diagnoses you with valve disease, learn more about your condition and explore your treatment options. Your cardiologist may recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or surgery to repair or replace the valve.

Cardiac Surgery Mitral Valve Repair

Medications
Medications cannot repair your valve. However, they may help  relieve your symptoms and prevent further damage  from occurring. Your cardiologist may recommend medications if surgical treatment is not appropriate for you or if your condition is mild.

Valve Repair
If you are a good candidate for surgery, your cardiologist might recommend a valve repair procedure. Surgical repair, rather than replacement, is ideal for those whose tissue is not severely damaged. For example, if your valve is too tight, you might undergo a balloon valvuloplasty. During this procedure, a catheter is inserted into the heart. It contains a special balloon. The balloon is then expanded to separate the leaflets of the valve and open it, allowing blood to flow through.

Valve Replacement
If your cardiologist determines that you are not a good candidate for a valve repair surgery, you might undergo valve replacement instead. During this procedure, your natural valve is replaced with an artificial one. The artificial valve may be mechanical and made of durable materials, or it may be made from donor tissue. A more recent approach for valve replacement is called the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). It involves inserting a catheter to the valve site to deliver a collapsible replacement valve. Once the new valve is expanded, the old valve leaflets are moved aside and the replacement tissue regulates the blood flow.

Cardiac Solutions offers five  convenient locations  in the West Valley for cardiac patients. Schedule an appointment at our cardiology clinics in Glendale, Peoria, Avondale, or Sun City West to explore your treatment options for valve disease and other heart conditions. You can connect with a cardiologist by calling (623) 208-5305.

Preparing for a Duplex Ultrasound

There are many different diagnostic tools a heart doctor may use to determine the underlying causes of a patient’s symptoms. One of those diagnostic tests is known as a duplex ultrasound. This test allows the cardiologist to evaluate the way in which your blood moves through your blood vessels. This type of test uses sound waves to create images of your blood vessels and the blood within them, and it enables the cardiologist to measure how fast your blood is flowing.

Blood arteries and veins

Talking to Your Cardiologist
Before you undergo a duplex ultrasound, it’s a good idea to talk to your cardiologist about the test. Learn why your cardiologist is recommending the test for you and ask which type of duplex ultrasound you’ll be having. For example, a carotid duplex ultrasound is performed to evaluate the carotid artery, which is located in your neck.

Preparing for the Test
Call the cardiology clinic ahead of your test and ask if there are any special preparations you need to make. Although most patients are not asked to make special preparations, some may need to restrict their food and liquid intake. You should also inform the technician performing the test of any medications you’re taking, such as blood thinners, and whether you smoke.  Smoking can affect your results  since it constricts the blood vessels.

Learning What to Expect
When you arrive at the cardiology clinic, you’ll likely be asked to change into a hospital gown. After lying down on the exam table, the technician will apply gel to the area that requires an evaluation. Then, a handheld device is moved over the area. Try to remain as still as possible unless you are asked to move to a certain position.

If you have any questions about preparing for an upcoming cardiology exam, contact  Cardiac Solutions  at (623) 208-5305. Our cardiology team proudly serves residents of the Glendale, Peoria, Avondale, and Sun City West areas. We emphasize the importance of patient education on heart health and the value of a team-oriented, personalized approach.

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