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Monday, March 09, 2009

Heart Healthy Guide

For a long time, I've wanted a good, concise sheet to give to patients on lifestyle and heart disease. I haven't found any publication that is concise and hits upon all of the main points of diet, exercise, weight loss, and smoking cessation.

I put this together on my own. Read it and feel free to share your thoughts.

7 comments:

Sanja said...

Great handout. I would add a few lines about how people can implement these so it doesn't get overwhelming. (Like: pick two/five/ten and begin, then add two/five/ten more after ... days.) And maybe some book or website recommendations?

Anonymous said...

I think this is great overall, but I might be frightened off by the Ironman mention! I do sprint trithlons myself, but will never get past that, and I know many, many folks who are completely convinced that they could never, ever complete even a sprint distance! I just think setting the bar that high might cause some to not even try. Maybe a mention of how you started out? I'm hoping it was something really, really easy--like walking a mile! For many of your patients, I bet that could even seem impossible. I work really hard to get my age-peers (60s) to get out and move, but it's like pushing a pillow through a toilet paper tube. I'm guessing many of your patients are in that age group, and I can assure you they scare off easy with the mention of exercise! Just my two cents!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the printout. I like the part about how chicken is not a health food -- this is sucha widespread misconception!

In other news, I have been following your advice to write down everything I eat. You wrote, "Would you really eat that handful of M & Ms if you knew you had to log it in your food journal?" and the answer is, "Yes, Vegan Heart Doc, yes I would."

My food journal shows that I've had at least SOME chocolate every single day since I started keeping it. -victoria.

L1z4 said...

Good handout! Suggestions:
* I would add in a section on stress management/relaxation as this is a huge issue with heart disease. I think this is just as important as diet and fitness. Something about reducing caffeine, anxiety, overworking, anger, and increasing active relaxation such as sports and activities that are fun as well inactive relaxation such as meditation, taking downtime, walking, reading, etc.

* Info about diabetes and heart disease and how they're linked? Diabetes patients don't realized their risk for heart attacks, I think. So, managing their blood sugar levels is HUGE in treating and preventing heart attacks.
* Getting cholesterol and triglyceride blood tests done, and working with the doctor to understand it.

* Test blood pressure regularly, keeping a record of it if it's in the high end and how to reduce it. If you have high blood pressure and heart disease, I believe it's more important to get this number down than weighing yourself twice a week. Doing progressive relaxation for 10 to 15 minutes can bring down the blood pressure down by 10 points instantly! It takes a lot more time to lose enough weight to show a difference in blood pressure (but it's good to lose weight tho).

* The Ironman references may be daunting as well, it's something definitely to proud of, however, people may be jealous/intimidated/discouraged, especially if they're in the couch potatoe category. Perhaps mentioning you're an avid exerciser and enjoy triathlons but don't mention the extent of your acheivements? Make it an a coversation starter about the importance of fitness, starting with walking?

Anyhow, this is so great that you have such a passion for your career and you genuinely care about your patients, that really comes across, and is *so important*. My dad died of a massive heart attack, he had diabetes, and my eyes are tearing as I comment. I miss him so much. :-( So it's great that you're doing this. :-)

L1z4 said...

OopS! I forgot to mention the link between dental care and heart disease! Daily flossing and 2x a day brushing is good for your heart. A lot of people don't know that.

Anonymous said...

Typo in the cholesterol section: "port" should be "pork," right?

VeganHeartDoc said...

Great comments, thank you!

I will correct that typo and add a few links for my web-savvy patients to read more on their own.

This guide is not meant to be all-inclusive. It is meant to be a single sheet with a few of the most important heart-healthy recommendations in order to reinforce what I tell them at their visit with me.

I also give this guide out at the time of a patient visit. I talk to my patients about their risk factors and give them tailored advice on lifestyle. For example, an elderly patient with a cane does not get told to sign up for an Ironman. I don't typically discuss my own athletic pursuits, but I do think that my accomplishments in that arena make me stand out from other cardiologists, and so I will keep those intact.