Cherishing the Prize: Health Tips for Heart Month

Linda Rider

Coronary heart disorder is a silent killer — but it doesn’t have to be.

Shocking, but true: just about 50 percent of ladies about the age of 20 will encounter some variety of cardiovascular sickness in their lifetimes. But that problem doesn’t have to have to be a dying sentence: To honor American Coronary heart Month, we checked in with our beloved Dr. O — aka J. Nwando Olayiwola, MD, MPH, FAAFP, the Chief Overall health Equity Officer for Humana Inc. Here, she shares what she’s discovered about heart attacks, how you can retain on your own in stellar condition, and why you ought to have a “health companion.” (And for even more details, check out Katie’s interview with Dr. O on this essential topic.)


A several many years in the past, a pal of mine invested 48 hrs searching for somebody to address her jaw suffering. She was a in shape, center-aged girl who maintained her schedule health care appointments and heeded her doctor’s normal information to observe her pounds and incorporate additional action into her days. But the jaw agony she was suffering from would not go absent. Just after a temporary phone call to her dentist, a informal chat with a health practitioner at the supermarket, and some well-intentioned advice from a neighbor promising “herbal aid,” she relented. Her spouse insisted on getting her to the clinic.  

Following a few several hours in the crisis section, her fingertips commenced to tingle and a wave of nausea hit. Assuming it was just connected distress, she even so informed a nurse of her most current symptoms.

The crisis place went into complete court docket press. She was in the throes of a heart attack. 

Holding a Pulse on Our Heart Wellness

For lots of in the non-health care earth, heart attacks are imagined as chest-gripping scenes with a remarkable collapse, codes termed, paddles in hand, and that infamous shout of “Clear!” 

But as a doctor, I know that coronary heart assaults rarely unfold so cinematically. They ordinarily start out gradual and obtain momentum, restoration requires much extended, and the indicators of a cardiac function may possibly appear a ton distinctive for males and women of all ages. 

Gals are also at a a great deal greater chance of coronary heart ailment than males. 

In truth, although only a person in 5 ladies believe we’re prone, just about half of us more than the age of 20 will have some type of cardiovascular ailment in our lifetimes. It is no question coronary heart condition is the foremost trigger of death among the gals – a silent killer.

It’s also generally preventable. And when heart overall health, like all well being, is not just a to-do listing, there are some great tactics to retain you in the know — and that could keep you out of the ED:

1. Have an understanding of your figures — specifically blood stress, cholesterol, and your chance for diabetes. Inadequate control of any of these elements appreciably boosts the chance of coronary heart condition, and all can be easily tracked, analyzed, and (quite routinely) managed with your health practitioner and treatment team.

2. Talking of numbers, age issues. In our youth, oral contraceptives may correlate with greater threat of cardiovascular condition. Pregnancy brings on a full array of stress to the system that can manifest in the coronary heart, together with pre-eclampsia, which is much more prevalent in Black females than any other team and might be connected with cardiovascular disorder later on in lifestyle. As we age, hormonal alterations and menopause welcome their possess suite of actual physical calls for. Attentiveness to improvements in our physique — vitality, temper, bodyweight loss and obtain, sleep designs, skin and hair improvements — is vital to keeping on best of what may perhaps be brewing beneath the floor. 

3. Head your patterns. Smoking, too much ingesting, or even really occasional, leisure drug use impacts heart health and fitness. This incorporates the a great deal-touted day by day glass of wine, which can undermine the two coronary heart health and psychological well being. There are plenty of means to curb these behaviors, and numerous change the temporary pressure relief we achieve from indulging a craving with the sustained dopamine we get from peer assist teams and companionship. 

4. Keep in mind that your coronary heart is linked to your head. Our heart is in essence a bodily recorder of all the feelings that operate by means of our thoughts: our tension, our self-doubt, our insecurities, and our fears. That signifies we can dote on our hearts by shelling out time processing what is heading on in between our ears. By recognizing predicaments that cultivate joy or elevate anxiety, for illustration, we can do additional to foster the former fairly than latter. 

5. Come across a associate. I have recommended a large amount of drugs and remedies in my career, and have been asked countless numbers of instances by patients for that a person magic get rid of-all. Here it is: there is almost nothing greater for the coronary heart than a health and fitness companion. A close friend. A person who you can be accountable to and for. When individuals cholesterol quantities fall a couple of points or the zipper on your most loved costume goes up just a very little less difficult, they’re your cheerleading squad. We all need a pal to share our overall health journeys with. Share walks or bicycle rides. FaceTime following yoga. Relish joys and bemoan stressors. Swap a balanced recipe. And have a excellent outdated-fashioned, soul-cleansing cry or chuckle.

Toni Morrison at the time wrote, “The conquer and the beating heart, appreciate that… Additional than eyes or feet. Far more than lungs that have still to attract cost-free air. More than your lifestyle-keeping womb… adore your heart. For THIS is the prize.”

So cherish that prize, gals. 


To hear additional about Dr. Olayiwola’s standpoint on women’s coronary heart wellbeing and well being fairness, hear to her keynote chat at the Go Crimson for Females luncheon in Central Ohio this month (commencing about 17 minutes into the movie, FYI).

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