Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Healthy Habits: Holidays and Heart Health

As Thanksgiving and the holiday season rapidly approaches, the stress of planning, family, shopping, traffic and eating can have a serious impact on your heart health. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for adults in the US. So what can you do about it? Before going online to find information, you should turn to a cardiologist who has been in the trenches of coronary heart disease for more than two decades. Dr. Waqar Khan is on a mission to emphasize the importance of heart health in his new book, Be Heart Smart: Understand, Treat, and Prevent Coronary Heart Disease (Available Now).  
I had a chance to interview him to learn more. 

Why can the holidays be so bad for heart health?
Holidays is a great time to have fun with friends and family. However it’s also a wonderful time to eat. This means two things. One you have to watch what you eat and also watch out for any mental stress that might come with family and friends reunion. Both of these might not be great for your heart particularly if you already have heart disease.

What foods are the biggest culprits?
Foods that you need to be concerned about during holidays include deserts, calorie rich side dishes, sweet beverages and excess of alcohol and fried foods.

How can people lower their risk if heart disease runs in their family?
There are certain risk factors of heart disease that are not under our control and some that we can change. The risk factors that we are able to change include a better control of cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and the ability to stop smoking. However we cannot change our DNA or who we are. So those folks who have a strong family history of heart disease need to focus on lowering such risk factors such as keeping a good weight control, being evaluated and checked for high cholesterol or diabetes, making sure the blood pressure is within normal limit and work on quitting smoking if you are a smoker . In addition I would like to add that such individuals should get involved with regular physical exercise.

What are some easy ways to incorporate exercise during the holiday season?
During holidays when we are likely to eat more as we get together with family and friends, it is essential to continue with exercise activity. If you are visiting friends you can find some time to walk in the neighborhood or or be able to visit their gym.  If you’re staying at a hotel or resort , you can exercise at their facilities available at these places.

Waqar Khan, M.D. (Tomball, TX) has been in private practice and an affiliate faculty at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, and has been providing state-of-the-art cardiology services to the Houston area for over 20 years. Dr. Khan is board certified in Cardiology as well as Interventional Cardiology and is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He has extensive experience in coronary, carotid and peripheral vascular interventions. 

1 comment:

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