LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Heart disease is a leading cause of death in both men and women. With February being heart health month, experts weigh in on how you can make simple changes to live a heart healthy life.
One of the first steps one can take to ensure a heart healthy life is to know which risks you can control and which ones you can’t.
“The type that we can’t is really our genetics; a lot of patients have a family history of cardiovascular disease and a lot of that is out of their control," Dr. Brett Goodwin said. "But that doesn’t mean all is lost. There are certainly risk factors that can be controlled. Typically high blood pressure, high cholesterol, what we eat, hot much we exercise, and really what we call your lifestyle.”
According Doctor Brett Goodwin, an interventional cardiologist, lifestyle modifications can drastically lower your risk of heart disease.
Light exercise is recommended; 20 to 30 minutes a day, according to Goodwin.
“I tend to tell patients they can start small," Goodwin said. "For example, not necessarily parking right next to the door at the super market. You can park further away.”
Goodwin recommends changes to you diet. He says they always recommend the Mediterranean diet.
“Little things like substituting olive oil for butter, avoiding fried foods, whole grains, wheat bread instead of white, brown rice instead of white rice," Goodwin said. "Just small things that overtime make a big impact.”
Goodwin says knowing the symptoms of a heart attack is important as well: crushing chest pain, or pain going down your left arm or up to your jaw. Other signs include nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, palpitations, or heart fluttering.
If you are having a heart attack, Goodwin says time is key.
“One of the heart arteries is not getting enough blood flow or may be blocked," Goodwin said. "Some of the tissue in the heart can die. So, the quicker we can have that artery open with something like a stint of medication, the better off you’ll be.”