A Healthy Heart Relies on Healthy Habits

Newport Urgent Care, Healthy Heart
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During the month of February, Americans see the human heart as the symbol of love. February is American Heart Month, a time to show yourself the love. Here at Newport Urgent Care we want to help you learn about your risks for heart disease and stroke and how to have a healthy heart. Heart disease may be a leading cause of death, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your fate. Although you lack the power to change some risk factors — such as family history, sex or age — there are some key heart disease prevention steps you can take.

As you begin your journey to better heart health that can last a lifetime, keep these things in mind:

  • Try not to become overwhelmed. Every step brings you closer to a healthier heart, and every healthy choice makes a difference!
  • Partner up. The journey is more fun—and often more successful—when you have company. Ask friends and family to join you.
  • Don’t get discouraged. You may not be able to take all of the steps at one time. Get a good night’s sleep—also important for a healthy heart—and do what you can tomorrow.
  • Reward yourself. Find fun things to do to decrease your stress. Round up some colleagues for a lunchtime walk, join a singing group, or have a healthy dinner with your family or friends.

Plan for Prevention

Try out these strategies for better heart health. You’ll be surprised how many of them can become lifelong habits!

Eat a healthy diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help protect your heart. Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease. Most people need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet — with a goal of five to 10 servings a day. Eating that many fruits and vegetables can not only help prevent heart disease but also may help prevent cancer and improve diabetes. Eating several servings a week of certain fish, such as salmon and mackerel, may decrease your risk of heart attack.

Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight, especially if you carry excess weight around your middle, ups your risk of heart disease. Excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Even a small weight loss can be beneficial. Reducing your weight by just 5 to 10 percent can help decrease your blood pressure, lower your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of diabetes.

Exercise regularly. Getting some regular, daily exercise can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease. And when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater. Try getting at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. However, even shorter amounts of exercise offer heart benefits, so if you can’t meet those guidelines, don’t give up. You can even get the same health benefits if you break up your workout time into three 10-minute sessions most days of the week. And remember that activities, such as gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog all count toward your total. You don’t have to exercise strenuously to achieve benefits, but you can see bigger benefits by increasing the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts.

Don’t smoke. Smoking or using tobacco of any kind is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack. The good news, though, is that when you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease drops almost to that of a nonsmoker in about five years. And no matter how long or how much you smoked, you’ll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.

Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure. Men should stick to no more than two drinks per day, and women to no more than one.

Manage your diabetes. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your health care team about treatment options.

Take your medicine. If you’re taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or another condition, follow the instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you don’t understand something.

You can avoid heart problems in the future by adopting a healthy lifestyle today. Here are six heart disease prevention tips to get you started.

Get enough quality sleep. Sleep deprivation can do more than leave you yawning throughout the day; it can harm your health. People who don’t get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you wake up without your alarm clock and you feel refreshed, you’re getting enough sleep. But, if you’re constantly reaching for the snooze button and it’s a struggle to get out of bed, you need more sleep each night. Make sleep a priority in your life. Set a sleep schedule and stick to it by going to bed and waking up at the same times each day. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet, so it’s easier to sleep.

Get regular health screenings. High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels. But without testing for them, you probably won’t know whether you have these conditions. Regular screening can tell you what your numbers are and whether you need to take action.

  • Blood pressure. Regular blood pressure screenings usually start in childhood. Adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years. You may need more-frequent checks if your numbers aren’t ideal or if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury.
  • Cholesterol levels. Adults should have their cholesterol measured at least once every five years starting at age 20 if they have risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity or high blood pressure. If you’re healthy, you can start having your cholesterol screened at age 35 for men and 45 for women. Some children may need their blood cholesterol tested if they have a strong family history of heart disease.
  • Diabetes screening. Since diabetes is a risk factor for developing heart disease, you may want to consider being screened for diabetes. Talk to your doctor about when you should have a fasting blood sugar test to check for diabetes. Depending on your risk factors, such as being overweight or having a family history of diabetes, your doctor may recommend early screening for diabetes. If your weight is normal and you don’t have other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends starting screening at age 45, and then retesting every three years.

For more information, contact Newport Urgent Care at 949-752-6300.

January is Thyroid Awareness Month

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the base of the neck just below the Adam’s apple. Although relatively small, the thyroid gland plays a huge role in our body, influencing the function of many of the body’s most important organs, including the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin. Ensuring that the thyroid gland is healthy and functioning properly is vitally important to the body’s overall well-being. An estimated 15 million of Americans have undiagnosed thyroid problems. At Newport Urgent Care we can help with early detection of thyroid conditions.

How common is thyroid disease?

Newport Urgent Care January is Thyroid Awareness MonthThyroid disease is more common than diabetes or heart disease. Thyroid disease is a fact of life for as many as 30 million Americans – and more than half of those people remain undiagnosed. Women are five times more likely than men to suffer from hypothyroidism (when the gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone). Aging is just one risk factor for hypothyroidism.

How important is my thyroid in my overall well-being?

The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormone, which controls virtually every cell, tissue and organ in the body. If your thyroid is not functioning properly, it can produce too much thyroid hormone, which causes the body’s systems to speed up (hyperthyroidism); or it can create too little thyroid hormone, which causes the body’s systems to slow down (hypothyroidism).

Untreated thyroid disease may lead to elevated cholesterol levels and subsequent heart disease, as well as infertility and osteoporosis. Research also shows that there is a strong genetic link between thyroid disease and other autoimmune diseases, including types of diabetes, arthritis and anemia.

Simply put, if your thyroid gland isn’t working properly, neither are you.

How do you know if you have a thyroid problem?

First, you must understand how to recognize the symptoms and risk factors of thyroid disease. Since many symptoms may be hidden or mimic other diseases and conditions, the best way to know for sure is to ask your doctor for a TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test, a simple blood test to verify your thyroid gland’s condition. Also, take a minute and perform a self Neck Check. And because thyroid disease often runs in families, examinations of your family members and a review of their medical histories may reveal other individuals with thyroid problems.

What are some of the reasons to consider a thyroid evaluation?

  • Family history: A familiar place to look for thyroid disorder signs and symptoms is your family tree. If you have a first-degree relative (a parent, sibling or child) with thyroid disease, you would benefit from thyroid evaluation. Women are much more likely to be thyroid patients than men; however, the gene pool runs through both.
  • Prescription medications: If you are taking Lithium or Amiodarone, you should consider a thyroid evaluation.
  • Radiation therapy to the head or neck: If you have had any of the following radiation therapies, you should consider a thyroid evaluation: radiation therapy for tonsils, radiation therapy for an enlarged thymus, or radiation therapy for acne.

To help with early detection and in some cases help you find lumps or enlargements in the neck that may point to a thyroid condition, you can perform a simple Neck Check self-exam. Here is a step-by-step guide.

How to take the Thyroid Neck Check

All you will need is:

A. Handheld mirror
B. Glass of water

Newport Urgent Care January is Thyroid Awareness Month

  1. Hold the mirror in your hand, focusing on the lower front area of your neck, above the collarbones, and below the voice box (larynx). Your thyroid gland is located in this area of your neck.
  2. While focusing on this area in the mirror, tip your head back.
  3. Take a drink of water and swallow.
  4. As you swallow, look at your neck. Check for any bulges or protrusions in this area when you swallow. Reminder: Don’t confuse the Adam’s apple with the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located further down on your neck, closer to the collarbone. You may want to repeat this process several times.
  5. If you do see any bulges or protrusions in this area, see your physician. You may have an enlarged thyroid gland or a thyroid nodule that should be checked to determine whether further evaluation is needed.

For more information contact Brea Urgent Care at 949-752-6300.

December 1 is World AIDS Day

In recognition of World AIDS Day on December 1, Newport Urgent Care encourages everyone in [enter state/city] to get tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In the United States, about 1 in 5 people who has HIV doesn’t know it.

The only way to know for sure whether or not you have HIV is to get tested. You could have HIV and still feel healthy. Everyone ages 15 to 65 needs to get tested at least once. Some people may need to get tested more often.

To find an HIV testing location near you, text your ZIP code to KNOWIT (566948) or use this online locator.

HIV is passed from one person to another by:

  • Having unprotected sex with a person who has HIV
  • Sharing needles with someone who has HIV
  • Breastfeeding, pregnancy, or childbirth if the mother has HIV
  • Getting a transfusion of blood that’s infected with HIV (very rare in the United States)

Learn more about HIV/AIDS and how to prevent this disease.

Around the world, about 34 million people are living with HIV. In the United States, about 50,000 people get infected with HIV every year. World AIDS Day is a global initiative to raise awareness, fight prejudice, and improve education about HIV and AIDS.

For more information, visit Newport Urgent Care in Newport Beach, CA or call us at 949-752-6300.

November is American Diabetes Month

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. One in 12 Americans has diabetes – that’s more than 25 million people. And another 79 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

To raise awareness about diabetes and healthy living, Newport Urgent Care is proudly participating in American Diabetes Month. Locally, 6.3% of people live with or are at risk of diabetes.

If you are overweight, have high blood pressure, or are age 45 or older, you are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The good news is that making healthy changes can greatly lower your risk. To help prevent type 2 diabetes:

  • Watch your weight.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Get more active.

For more information, visit Newport Urgent Care in Newport Beach, CA or call us at 949-752-6300.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This October, Newport Urgent Care is proud to participate in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.

The good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.

  • If you are a woman age 40 to 49, talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them.
  • If you are a woman age 50 to 74, be sure to get a mammogram every 2 years. You may also choose to get them more often.

Talk to a doctor about your risk for breast cancer, especially if a close family member of yours had breast or ovarian cancer. Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get mammograms.

For more information, visit Newport Urgent Care in Newport Beach, CA or call us at 949-752-6300.