5 Tips to Keep Your Heart Safe this Summer

It’s easy to get swept up in summertime fun, but there are many reasons to take the hot temps seriously and choose safety first. In 2023, there were 2,302 heat-related deaths in the U.S. and heat-related deaths continue to increase each year.

There are many ways that high temperatures affect our health. It can increase your risk of heart disease and heat stroke. Heat also increases the amounts of ground-level ozone, which causes asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The elderly, children, those who are pregnant, and people with compromised health conditions are at an even higher risk.

Although the summer heat can increase the risk of health issues, there are steps to take to avoid these dangers. We’ve got you covered this summer with a list of ways to beat the heat and protect your health all summer long. Keep reading to learn more!

  1. Protect Your Body

One simple way to stay safe outside in the heat is to dress appropriately. You can do this by wearing breathable materials that are lightweight and light colors. Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from harsh UV rays. Not only will this prevent sunburns, but can also protect against blindness.

UV rays damage your eyes and come from all directions, not just from above. They also reflect off surfaces around you and shine in your eyes. Eyewear that blocks UV rays will protect your eyes from severe damage and a hat can further block reflections.

A portable, hands-free fan and spray bottle can cool you down with a light breeze and water mist. If you’re outside for a while, an umbrella can be used to ensure the shade travels with you. Choosing well-ventilated shoes can help to keep your feet cool. 

Don’t leave your house without applying broadspectrum sunblock with at least 15 SPF. Sweating and swimming can cause your sunblock to wash off, so reapply every two hours or directly after towelling off. 

If you get sunburned, stay out of the sun until it heals and moisturize the burn with lotion or aloe. Don’t burst any blisters and cool your skin with baths and a damp cloth.

  1. Drink Water and Stay Hydrated

When our bodies are exposed to extreme heat, the cardiovascular system struggles to thermoregulate the body’s internal temperature. Your temperature can quickly rise to a dangerous level and excessive sweating causes your body to lose water. This can cause deadly health conditions including heat stroke and dehydration. 

About 75% of American adults are chronically dehydrated. Dehydration is caused when you lose more water than you’re taking in. Some ways your body loses water rapidly is through breathing, sweating, vomiting, kidneys. The heat can increase your rate of water and salt loss, especially if you are exercising and sweating more or breathing heavily.

Dehydration alone can cause death, but it can also cause other dangerous health problems. When you’re dehydrated, your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your body. If you have certain medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, you’re at greater risk for a heart attack or stroke. 

  1. Know the Warning Signs

Certain medical conditions require more water intake to remain hydrated. Plus, some medications including diuretics, beta-blockers, ace receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, and ace inhibitors can cause your body to react strongly to heat. 

The best way to determine if you are dehydrated is to monitor your urine. Having clear urine is a good sign that you’re hydrated. If your urine is yellow, then it’s a sign that you may be dehydrated and should drink more water. 

Other symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, headaches, swollen feet, muscle cramps, and feeling tired. It’s important to slow down and get out of the heat if you feel unwell. If you stop sweating, this is a sign that you are already dehydrated and at risk for heat stroke. 

To avoid dehydration, drink water before you’re thirsty throughout the day. This is because you may already be dehydrated before you feel thirsty. Drink one cup of water every 15-20 minutes for the best results. Drinking water throughout the day in short intervals is more effective than drinking a lot all at once.

If you are preparing to exercise or brave the heat, drink water before going outside. Otherwise you’ll be playing catch-up against dehydration.

Drinking too much water can have a dangerous effect. Overhydration, or too much liquid, is when the concentration of salt in your blood is too low and electrolyte imbalances (hyponatremia) occur, which can cause a medical emergency. 

To maintain a healthy balance of water and electrolytes, eat well-balanced meals. Unless you are profusely sweating for several hours, it is unnecessary to drink sports drinks. These tend to contain a lot of sugars and unnecessary calories. Alcoholic drinks, soda, and caffeine (including energy drinks) can cause dehydration, so limit your intake while in the heat.

  1. Heat-Related Illnesses

Every year employees are put at risk and dozens die while working in hot or humid conditions. Whether your at home or at work, it’s important to take precautions to prevent yourself from falling victim to heat illnesses.

Heat illnesses can affect anyone of any age, especially during rigorous activity while at work or while exercising. They include heat stroke, Rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown), heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat syncope, and heat rash. Use the buddy system to watch over your friends, family, and co-workers. Be on the lookout for common signs of heat illnesses such as small red bumps on the skin, muscle spasms, nausea or vomiting, slurred speech, rapid heart rate, or heavy sweating.

If the person is unconscious, immediately call 911. Heat stroke can cause death, so act fast and move the person to a cooler area. Remove excess clothing and use ice or cool water to lower their body temperature. Using a fan to blow air on the person may increase their body temperature if heat index temperatures are above 90 degrees. So instead try to find a spot in the shade or air-conditioned space indoors.

  1. Too Hot for Your Heart

Studies show that in extremely high temperatures, the rate of cardiovascular deaths can double or triple. In extreme heat, your heart has to work harder to cool your body down. It does this by pumping blood from major organs to your skin. If you are already at risk, then this can pose a threat to your well-being.

Some signs of heat exhaustion include pale skin, headaches, fast and weak pulse, nausea and/or vomiting, dizziness, and even passing out. If you feel your heart rate increase or your temperature is 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, you could be in danger. Call 911 and get to a shady area. Don’t drink liquids, instead try to bring your body temperature down with a cool bath or wet cloth.

Staying active is still important for your heart’s health. Try to bring activities indoors if it’s too hot to exercise outside. Choose an air-conditioned gym or stay fit by going swimming. If you do spend time outdoors, avoid the hottest time of the day which occurs between 11 a.m.-12 p.m. 

When you’re outside bring extra water and healthy snacks like frozen fruit smoothies, cold salads, and fresh vegetables to keep you cooler. Check on your pets often whether they are outside or indoors to ensure they are also staying cool and have access to drinking water. Never leave your pets or children in the car, as heat can rise by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes inside a vehicle.

Time for Summer Fun!

Sometimes the summer heat can take us by surprise. Preparing ahead by drinking water, dressing appropriately, and knowing the warning signs of heat illnesses can protect you and your loved ones. We hope you found these tips helpful and allow you to have a safe and fun time all summer long!

Ready to take action toward better health this summer for you and your family? Let us help you get there by scheduling an appointment here

Fear Not! Heart Check-Ups Are Easier Than Ever

Is the idea of checking your heart health causing unnecessary stress? You’ve probably heard the statistics before about how the leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease. 


But that doesn’t mean you should be afraid of checking up on your heart. More often than not, heart-related deaths are preventable, especially if you visit your doctor regularly for routine health check-ups and blood pressure tests. 


With new technology and efficient testing, monitoring your heart health is easier than ever. Plus, even if your doctor detects signs of heart disease, there are many treatment options. It’s always better to detect a problem early than to let it go untreated. 


Still not convinced? Keep reading to learn more about why there’s no need to fear a routine heart check-up with your doctor and why you should schedule your next appointment today.

Non-invasive Procedures

We’ve come a long way in the medical industry. Now it’s easier than ever to analyze and monitor our heart’s health. During a heart health exam, you’ll be asked to complete a questionnaire about your exercise and eating habits. You may be asked about your medical history related to your heart.


Your provider will usually take your pulse, blood pressure, resting heart rate, breathing rate, weight, and height, then test your blood for cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Once your doctor has collected this information they may want to discuss options to improve your health. 


Your doctor might order diagnostic tests such as a stress test, x-ray, or electrocardiogram (EKG). These are used to get more detailed visual images of your heart. These routine tests are mainly non-invasive and don’t take long to complete. However, then can significantly help your doctor better analyze your health and provide an effective treatment plan.


Factors such as diet and exercise can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Simple changes to your everyday life such as quitting smoking, exercising more, or reducing alcohol intake, can improve your heart’s health. The first step is a routine check-up.

Early Detection Could Save Your Life

When it comes to checking up on your heart, the earlier the better. That’s because most heart issues are treatable if caught early. With today’s detailed scans and thorough methods of detection, your doctor can find and treat underlying health issues before they become serious.

This is extra important if you have a family history of heart-related illnesses. Regular check-ups before symptoms arise can greatly reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke and increase your lifespan. That’s more time spent enjoying your life with family and loved ones.


Issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol can lead to more serious health problems including heart attacks, kidney disease, and strokes. Addressing them as early as possible through medications, diet, and exercise, can improve the quality and length of your life.

New Technology Makes Check-Ups Quick and Easy

There’s nothing to fear when it comes to a routine heart exam. Today’s technological advances allow doctors to check and monitor your heart for any concerning signs of illness. Plus, there are so many treatments available to you.


Your doctor may use Nuclear Cardiac Scanning to take detailed images of your heart. This innovative technology uses tracers to determine the blood flow and overall function of your heart. 


Whether it’s simply adjusting your exercise and nutrition plan, taking medication, or monitoring your blood pressure from home, your doctor has many options to care for and treat you. Seeing a doctor about something as serious as your heart can be stressful. But you can rest easy knowing that your doctor has the state-of-the-art care you deserve at their disposal.

Prevent More Serious Issues from Developing

Even if you’re feeling well, there are still reasons to fit a routine check-up appointment on your calendar. That’s because many underlying heart issues can develop into more serious conditions if left untreated.


Heart attacks and strokes can happen unexpectedly. It’s best to have a professional check your heart regularly so they can catch the early warning signs. Plus, letting heart-related health issues go untreated can lead to more serious health problems. 


An appointment with your cardiologist can also reveal congenital heart defects which are heart problems that you may have been born with. These include atypical heart valves, atresia (a missing heart valve), and septal defects. These defects are often found during routine heart exams. 


Your heart is an important part of your overall health. Maintaining a healthy heart is beneficial to all aspects of your body.

Symptom-Free? You’ll Still Need a Check-Up

Even if you feel fine and are symptom-free, we recommend scheduling regular check-ins with your doctor. This is because many heart conditions go undetected until a serious incident such as a heart attack or stroke occurs. 


In some cases, when a silent heart attack has occurred, you may not know it. Silent heart attacks are as serious as a regular heart attack, because they are caused by the blockage of blood flow to the heart.


There’s no reason for alarm, because the sooner you have your heart checked, the better. Catching an underlying heart issue while you’re still symptom-free gives you a chance to treat it before it gets worse. Whether you catch the early signs of heart disease or learn that your heart is happy and healthy, you’ll be glad you checked in with your doctor sooner rather than later.

No Regrets: Check Your Heart Today!

Regular check-ins with a professional cardiologist can improve the quality and longevity of your life. Today’s modern technology has made it easier than ever to improve and maintain your heart’s health.


Want to learn more about improving your heart health today? Call HeartCare today for a free consultation. At HeartCare, we don‘t only care about your heart – we care about you!

How to Treat Your Leg Veins So They Don’t Get Worse.

With the warmer temperatures on the way, we can look forward to sunny days by the pool or on the beach. But if you’re like the many Americans with leg veins, you may be reluctant to show off your legs this spring. Studies show that over 25 million people in the United States have varicose veins. Unsightly leg veins can cause pain and discomfort, along with feeling self-conscious about their appearance.  

Luckily there are treatment options that can help resolve your vein issues. Now is the perfect time to look into treatment options. Keep reading to learn more about what you can do to treat your leg veins and stop them from getting worse.

What Causes Leg Veins?

There are different types of leg veins. Some are more severe than others. Varicose veins are bulging and enlarged veins that are close to the surface of your skin. Spider veins are a more mild form of varicose veins that are just under your skin and can be blue, purple, or red in color.

Mostly, these veins are more of an aesthetic concern and not dangerous. They are caused by the valves in your veins being broken or malfunctioning. This causes the veins to fill up with blood and bulge. These vein issues can happen due to pregnancy, obesity, or prolonged sitting or standing. 

Because the blood cannot drain like normal, the veins can become itchy and painful. In some cases, varicose veins can be dangerous and cause more extreme problems. If you’re suffering from severe pain, then you should consult a professional who may recommend an ultrasound, which is a painless, non-invasive way to get a closer look at your veins.

How to Improve Your Leg Veins

There are some simple steps you can take to keep your leg veins from getting worse. One easy way to reduce swelling in your legs, due to varicose veins, is to elevate your feet after a long day of standing at work. Let’s take a look at some other options available to you, depending on your individual needs.

Compression Socks

One option is to wear compression socks or stockings. If your work requires you to stand or sit for a prolonged time, then wearing compression socks can help improve blood flow and reduce swelling in your leg veins. 

Wearing compression stockings can also reduce your chances of getting deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a type of blood clot. They’re also used as treatment for poor circulation caused by diabetes. Plus, they can prevent you from developing more varicose or spider veins.

Your doctor might recommend wearing compression socks after other vein treatments and procedures to promote healing.

Topical Creams

In addition to wearing compression stockings, you can also find topical creams to soothe your skin. These creams can be purchased over-the-counter at your local drug store. They’re used to tighten the skin and reduce swelling, which in turn reduces the appearance of varicose veins along with the discomfort they cause.

Although topical creams can help to mask the pain caused by leg veins, they won’t treat the underlying problem. Talk to your doctor about which topical creams might be best for your leg veins.

Effective Leg Vein Procedures

If you’d like to get rid of unsightly leg veins that can also cause discomfort and effect your quality of life, then you may want to look into more permanent procedures. There are a variety of options, which are mostly low risk and have an easy recovery. Your doctor can help you decide which procedure is right for you.

External Laser Treatments

Spider veins, also known as telangiectasias, are the small purplish veins in the leg that usually are not painful or harmful. They can be caused by a number of things including family history, pregnancy, and hormonal factors. However, some may prefer to have them removed for cosmetic reasons. For these cases, external laser treatments are a non-invasive and popular option.

External laser treatment uses a focused beam of light that forms a blood clot in the vein. These clots block off the vein and it dies off as a result. This treatment is typically used for patients who have veins that are less in diameter than a 30 gauge needle or for those who have a phobia of needles.


The most effective, and popular, treatment for spider veins is Sclerotherapy. This is when a needle is used to inject the veins with medication to remove them. You can expect the injected veins to fade within just a few weeks. 

Side effects to sclerotherapy are usually mild such as bruising, swelling or inflammation that goes away within a few days. After treatment, most people return to normal activity and can walk directly after.

Endovenous Catheter Ablation (Venefit™)

Venefit™ is the latest innovation for treating leg veins using radiofrequency. This procedure is mostly non-invasive because it uses heat to contract the collagen in vein walls. This causes the veins to collapse and close, which results in blood being redirected to healthy veins instead. 

There are many benefits to Endovenous Catheter Ablation. It has a quick recovery time, only requires local anesthetic, has a high rate of recovery, and low risk of infection. 

Ambulatory Phlebectomy

Your doctor might recommend an ambulatory phlebectomy as treatment for small veins located on the surface of the skin. Similar to other treatments, this is an outpatient procedure that usually takes no more than an hour. It is also typically pain-free for most patients.

This treatment involves an incision made by your doctor into the vein and a surgical hook inserted into it. This is used to remove the affected vein. No stitches are necessary and the vein is easily collapsed.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy is not recommended for patients who are taking blood-thinning medications, have cellulitis, clotting issues, or severe edema. It can treat veins both cosmetically and for patients concerned about other effects of untreated veins. For example, untreated veins can affect the flow of oxygen-depleted blood from your heart to your lower extremities.


Another option that your doctor might consider is VenalSeal™. This is a procedure that uses a small catheter, or tiny tube, to insert medication into the vein. The procedure starts with an ultrasound to examine the area.

You may feel stinging and mild discomfort when your doctor uses an injection to numb the area. But you won’t feel the majority of the procedure. External pressure is used to push the vein walls together along the entire vein’s length. 

VenalSeal™ can eliminate painful and itchy leg veins that cause annoying symptoms like restless legs, achiness, and swelling. 

Get Relief From Your Leg Veins 

Although there are many treatment options for leg veins, it’s important to consult with your doctor to find out which option is right for you. Luckily, we offer a variety of treatment options all in one convenient location.

Ready to get the best care for your leg veins in time for warmer weather? Get started today! Schedule your vein consultation with one of our expert doctors. You’ll be ready to show off your leg free veins in no time.

The Surprising Link Between Your Kidneys and Your Heart

17-50% of patients with chronic kidney failure also suffer from heart failure. Studies show that the mortality rate of heart failure increases with worsening renal failure. You may be surprised to learn that your kidneys say a lot about your heart. The harmful effects of high blood pressure and diabetes on your heart can also lead to chronic kidney failure.

Your body is a complex system that relies on your overall health to work properly. When certain organs in your body aren’t functioning well, they can put a strain on the rest of your body. Some organs have a more direct effect on your heart than others. 

Keep reading to learn more about the link between your kidneys and heart, and what you can do to protect both.

The Link Between Your Kidneys and Heart

Recent studies show that the connection between your heart health and kidneys is more prevalent because of their closely interrelated processes. 50% of patients with stage 4 or 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) also have cardiovascular disease (CVD). Plus approximately 40%-50% of all deaths in patients with stage 4 CVD are heart-related. Meaning, that if you have been diagnosed with CKD your heart is at serious risk.

It’s important to speak to your cardiologist if you’re having kidney problems and, at the same time, work with your nephrologist if you’re struggling with heart disease. 

The link between your kidneys and heart is, at its core, quite simple. If your kidneys are unwell, your heart has to work harder to pump blood to them. This puts stress on your heart. Over time this can lead to heart failure and disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and should not be taken lightly. 

The opposite is true too. Over time, high blood pressure causes damage to your blood vessels. If the small blood vessels in your kidneys are damaged, then your kidneys are unable to filter your blood efficiently. This results in kidney disease among other health problems. 

How Can You Help Your Heart and Kidneys?

If you suffer from chronic kidney disease, then you should also make your heart health a priority. You can do this by scheduling regular checkups with your cardiologist.

Luckily, early detection of heart disease and chronic kidney disease can allow you to treat them and prevent a heart attack or stroke. There are also some other steps you can take in your daily life to help your kidneys and heart.

Eat Healthy Foods

High blood pressure or hypertension is often caused by unhealthy life choices including a poor diet and being overweight. Eating foods that are high in cholesterol can lead to plaque forming along tiny tears in your artery walls. This narrows the insides of your arteries and makes it harder for your heart to pump oxygenated blood throughout your body.

Eating more fruits and vegetables provides your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly. Monitor your blood pressure regularly to ensure that you maintain a healthy range. You can work with your cardiologist to find the right plan for you.

Exercise Regularly

Another way to present or manage kidney disease and heart disease is by staying active. This not only helps you regulate your weight but also helps to control your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, regular exercise will help your body become more sensitive to insulin. This is a hormone that causes your cells to use blood sugar for energy.

Exercising also encourages better sleep, makes you feel happier, and lowers the LDL or “bad” cholesterol in your blood. Try to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity.

Quit Smoking and Avoid Alcohol

One of the best steps you can take toward better health is to quit smoking. Even if you’ve been smoking for a long time, your body begins to heal itself the moment you quit. You can reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and lung disease even within 12 to 24 hours of quitting.

Reducing your alcohol intake is another step toward helping your heart and kidneys. Consuming too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure and worsen kidney disease. High blood pressure is a common cause of kidney disease. Avoid having more than two drinks a day to reduce your chances of having high blood pressure. 

Visit Your Cardiologist Regularly

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or chronic kidney disease, then your heart could be at risk. The good news is the sooner you begin to monitor your heart health and treat any underlying issues, the more likely you can turn around serious threats to your heart’s health.

Many times, a heart condition is undetectable until a serious episode such as a heart attack or stroke occurs. Don’t wait to find out about your heart. Schedule your appointment here. 

February is American Heart Month

Celebrate American Heart Month this February by raising awareness and taking simple steps to combat one of America’s greatest threats. Whether it means caring for your own health or sharing knowledge with loved ones, American Heart Month is your chance to take action – especially for women.

In fact, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be. Spreading the word about heart health to the women in your life or taking these steps yourself, can help reduce the risk of more women being victims of heart disease and stroke.

More than educating others, encouraging regular check-ups, and motivating healthy habits, you can learn more ways to help save lives affected by cardiovascular disease every day. Keep reading to learn how you can start making a difference now.

Take a Stand for a Healthier Heart

While heart disease continues to be the number one cause of death globally, women pose a higher risk of cardiovascular disease due to the unique life stages they experience, including pregnancy and menopause.

If you want to protect your heart, the first step is to meet with a medical professional to assess your current health. In many cases, issues such as high blood pressure, don’t cause any noticeable symptoms. Many Americans aren’t aware they have heart problems until something serious happens, such as an unexpected heart attack or stroke.

If your family has a history of heart disease, then you may be more at risk. The good news is that the sooner you get your health checked, the sooner you can begin to take the necessary steps toward improving or maintaining your heart’s health. Early detection can lead to life-saving treatment.

Be Ready to Help – Learn Hands-Only CPR

Of the 400,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that occur every year, 89% of them result in death. Luckily there are ways you can help someone experiencing cardiac arrest, and it only takes 60 seconds to learn.

If you want to take action during American Hearth Month, we recommend learning hands-only CPR. This method is an alternative to mouth-to-mouth and is a great skill to have. It could save a life. 

Too often women who are suffering from cardiac arrest will go unassisted because bystanders are afraid to touch them. Hands-only CPR is a great option and highly effective too.

The first few minutes are critical when someone collapses with a cardiac arrest. So it’s important to be ready to help. You can watch one of the American Heart Association’s videos to learn how and reference these two steps:

  1. You first want to call 911 or have someone else call. Then put the phone on speaker. 
  2. Next, you’re going to use your hands to push down on the center of the person’s chest at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. (It’s recommended to use a song like “Stayin’ Alive” by the BeeGees to time yourself.)

Learning this simple, yet powerful, skill could save someone’s life.

Team Up & Set Healthy Habits

American Heart Month is a great reminder to start setting healthy habits. The best way to stick with them is by teaming up with friends and family so you can continue to motivate each other throughout the year.

One habit worth starting is to monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a common cause of heart disease. Even if your doctor takes your blood pressure during regular visits, it’s still a good idea to monitor it at home for the most accurate results.

For some people, their doctor’s office is a relaxing place. Others find it to be stressful. This could mean your blood pressure reading isn’t consistent with readings you might get regularly at home. Studies show that about half of U.S. adults (or 104 million) should be monitoring their blood pressure at home to account for contrasting results from their doctor visits.

Heart monitors are easy to find and use. Many pharmacies and grocery stores offer blood pressure machines that you can use for free. Or you can purchase one for less than $50. Checking your blood pressure on your own helps you take charge of your heart health and avoid dangerous health risks such as heart attack, stroke, and organ damage.

Remember to Take Care of Yourself

Another important message for everyone during American Heart Month is to remember to prioritize self-care. Your mental wellness directly affects the health of your heart. Prolonged, highly stressful situations can cause damage to your health over time – particularly your heart.

While we often focus on our physical body’s health, it’s important not to let your emotional and mental well-being fall under the radar. Spending time with friends, taking steps to de-stress, meditate, do something you love, or talk to someone about your day, can prevent future health problems. 

Our mental health includes emotional, social, and psychological well-being. When we don’t take time to care for our mental health, our physical health suffers too. The stability of our mental health determines how well we handle stress in our lives.

Studies show that people who experience mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and stress are more prone to increased cardiac reactivity. This means higher blood pressure, increased heart rate, reduced blood flow to the heart, and higher cortisol levels. Over time these symptoms lead to calcium build-up in your arteries, heart disease, and metabolic disease. 

Without a doubt, when you’re happier, more relaxed, and less stressed, your heart benefits. Whether for yourself, or the loved ones in your life, set goals this month to make mental wellness a priority. 

Never Too Late to Get Started

Whatever motivates you to get started this month, we hope you found these simple tips helpful. There are so many reasons to make heart health a priority for yourself and everyone in your life. Spreading the word is a great way to make a difference and take action.

If you’re interested in learning more about keeping your heart healthy, our team of expert cardiologists can help you discover the best path forward for you. 

Ready to take action this month? It’s easy to get started by scheduling an appointment here

Easy New Year’s Healthy Habits You Can Actually Keep.

It’s a new year and many of us are feeling the pressure to set lofty goals. One study showed that 62% of adults feel that they have to set New Year’s resolutions. However, history tells us that many of these goals never come to fruition.

Luckily there are simple ways to create healthy habits that don’t require you to turn your life upside down. We’ve created a short list of easy ways to check in with yourself and set personal goals for healthier habits – or to continue the positive ones you’ve already achieved!

Protecting your heart health this year doesn’t have to be hard. We’d like to help you reach your goals this year and make 2024 your healthiest year yet!

  1. Check-Up with Your Doctor

Whether or not you set New Year’s resolutions, the easiest way to stay healthy is to schedule your next check-up with your doctor. Some of the most common resolutions include improving fitness and diet plans. But you don’t have to tackle these goals by yourself.

Set aside some time to schedule your regular check-ups with your healthcare provider. It takes minutes to schedule your appointment. Meeting with your doctor can help you to assess your current health and learn ways to maintain or improve it.

Your doctor will measure things like your blood pressure and glucose levels to get an overall picture of your wellness. They can also work with you to create healthy habits surrounding physical activity, drinking, smoking, and nutrition. Each of these factors plays an important role in your heart health.

Keep in mind that heart conditions can remain hidden from us. In some cases, individuals don’t know they have any issues until faced with a heart attack or stroke. Even if you’re feeling well now, it’s better to have your heart checked in case underlying problems exist.

  1. Avoid Being Sedentary

As mentioned above, one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions is to exercise more. This also happens to be one of the most broken resolutions. This is often because we tend to set unrealistic goals and can’t maintain them.

Rather than forcing yourself to exercise, think of your fitness goals as avoiding being sedentary. According to the Physical Activities Guidelines for Americans, studies show that any amount of physical activity offers you health benefits. 

Meaning, that any way you can decrease the amount of time you’re sitting down is an instant win. You don’t have to be hitting the gym or doing hours of cardio to help your heart stay healthy. Try to increase your movement as much as possible and your body will benefit from it.

  1. Buddy Up

More than just setting realistic goals, having an accountability partner can be the make or break for many people. Studies show that sharing your goals with a friend or partner and updating them on your progress, can increase your chances of reaching them by 33%.

Knowing that the majority of people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions within a month, reaching out to a friend for support is instantly setting yourself up for a greater likelihood of success.

Your accountability partner doesn’t have to be a friend or family member, it can also be a professional. Share your goals with your doctor at your next appointment. They can work with you to set incremental goals so you can focus on reaching a series of smaller goals rather than one big one.

  1. Reduce Stress

A New Year can also bring the stress of big goals, high expectations, and a feeling of time loss. This can cause us to focus on trying to push ourselves even more. Stress has been proven to be directly linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, which is why we suggest making your mental health a priority this year. 

One study showed that people who face longer, more prolonged and stressful work hours, are 40% more likely to develop heart disease or stroke. Everyone experiences stress differently. Circumstances can result in different reactions in the body depending on the person. But regardless of what the actual situation is, it can be just as damaging to your health if you’re feeling its effects.

Although there isn’t a test that can determine how much stress you’re under, it’s important to listen to your body and take the necessary steps to reduce your stress levels when you can. Scientists are still learning about the effects of stress on the body, but they do know that there is a connection between chronic stress and health-related problems.

Make it a priority to spend some time decompressing every day. Set aside a few minutes to snuggle your pet, listen to relaxing music, or take a soothing bath. You can also try these mindset changes to improve your heart health. Whatever you prefer, this year, try to set aside as much time as you can to focus on de-stressing. Your heart will thank you.

  1. Focus on More Fiber

Around 33% of adults set New Year’s resolutions around sticking to their diet. However, 92% of adults will not follow their resolutions. For this reason, we recommend setting more obtainable goals for your health such as increasing fiber in your diet.

Rather than forcing yourself into a strict diet, focus on adding more fiber to your daily meals. This includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. You’d be surprised by how much your diet can affect your heart health.

Increasing your fiber intake has been proven to reduce blood pressure along with the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It also improves cholesterol – all of which can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and colon cancer.

If you can’t stick to the diet, you can also take fiber supplements. Any small improvements you can make will have a positive effect on your health. Sticking to creating change is hard in our fast-paced lives, so be forgiving to yourself and take it one step at a time.

Reach Out for Help

We hope you have a great new year filled with many happy and rewarding moments. It’s never too late to start focusing on your health and these easy steps can help you get there — but you don’t have to go it alone.

Our team of expert cardiologists can help you set goals and stick with them this year. It’s never been a better time to make your heart health a priority.

Ready to take action toward your healthiest year yet? Let us help you get there by scheduling an appointment here

5 Ways to Deal with Holiday Blues and Find Joy Amidst Sadness

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While the holiday season is often depicted as a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness, if you’re not feeling the holiday cheer, you’re not alone. About 41% of Americans surveyed, report feeling an increase in stress this year due to the holidays. 

The holidays can cause higher levels of anxiety and depression for many reasons. This is especially true when dealing with feelings of sadness or loss, financial strain, or difficult family dynamics. The rise of inflation also adds to the pressure of gift-giving.

The extra activities, lack of sleep, unhealthy diet, increased alcohol intake, and busy travel can put further strain on your physical health — including your heart. Stay healthy and happy this holiday season with these tips to maintain your well-being, despite the busy weeks ahead.

  1. Put Your Health First

The pressures of the holiday can creep up on us as we get overtaxed by an increase in responsibilities. To avoid getting overwhelmed, it’s important to set boundaries and limit obligations. It’s okay to say “no” to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your health.

Remember you’re only one person, with only so many hours in the day. Make sure you put your needs first and take breaks or ask loved ones for help. 

It’s impossible to meet everyone’s expectations and you might disappoint some people. If they have your best interests at heart, then they’ll understand that you have a lot on your plate. This holiday season, take time to check in with yourself and make sure you’re not overdoing it.

  1. Minimize Stressful Situations

This year, organize your time and avoid the situations that have caused painful emotions in the past. Putting your health first may also mean not attending certain gatherings or interacting with particular family members. 

Most Americans blamed finances as their number one cause of holiday stress. The pressure to spend a lot of money and find the perfect gifts for everyone in your life is difficult to have hanging over you. Set a reasonable budget early on and stick to it. This can help keep your finances in check and put your mind at ease. 

For another 22% of Americans, dealing with family conflict was their main reason for stressing out about the holidays. If you are dreading having to interact with certain family members, then it’s important to mentally prepare yourself. 

Remember that “No” is a complete sentence and it’s okay to set boundaries to protect yourself from unhealthy situations. Take a look at your overall schedule and only take on what is necessary or what you can handle. 

If you have to be somewhere and find yourself in a confrontation with a family member, you may need to practice the strategy of underreactivity. Also, take frequent breaks by leaving the party and stepping outside. 

  1. Avoid Alcohol

Indulging in sweet treats and alcoholic beverages during the holidays is a part of the merriment. Unfortunately, this can harm your heart and overall health. If you can’t avoid alcohol and unhealthy food completely, try to reduce your intake as much as possible.

It’s important to include healthy foods in your diet this holiday season and remember to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, as sugary foods and alcohol can dehydrate you faster. Dehydration can lead to more dangerous health conditions.

Try not to fall behind on regular exercise. Taking a walk outside can not only improve your health but also your emotional well-being. Take the time to reflect and give yourself a break from the holiday rush. Remember that self-care is important, it’s okay to feel stressed, and not everything is in your control.

Scheduling a meditation or yoga class can also offer positive benefits when you’re in the midst of holiday stress. Treating yourself to a class will ensure that you put aside a time and place to dedicate your attention to your well-being.

  1. Surround Yourself with a Support System

The holidays are an important time to reach out to friends and family you trust. Talking about what you’re feeling and the pressure you’re under can help you feel better and find camaraderie in shared experiences.

You may also find that seeking professional guidance from a therapist could be beneficial to release stress. If you already have a history of mental health conditions, then it is especially important to get extra help around the holidays.

Sometimes we have no choice but to show up for an event, or complete tasks and errands that we’d rather avoid. In this case, remembering the important reasons why you are, for example, wrapping a giant pile of presents, can help you overcome the inner resistance to get it done.

  1. Check-In with Your Physician

If you’re wondering how stress is affecting your health, then it’s important to seek a professional opinion. Your family and friends care about you. Regular doctor visits ensure you live a long and healthy life.

Many health conditions are treatable if detected early. Frequent wellness visits can help you prevent major heart issues. In some cases, you may not notice any change in your health and still have an underlying condition such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Early detection can help you avoid more serious issues that high levels of stress can increase the risk of, such as a heart attack or stroke. If you have a family history of these conditions, it is even more crucial to have regular checkups.

Make the Most of Your Holiday Season

Although there are plenty of reasons you may feel stressed during the holidays, it can also be a time of celebration, sentiment, and gratitude. It’s an opportunity to strengthen relationships and check in with your physical and emotional health.

This is the perfect time to schedule an appointment with one of our expert cardiologists to ensure you have a happy and safe holiday season. Let us help you gain peace of mind for you and your family by scheduling an appointment here

5 Ways Diabetes Can Affect Your Heart

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects more than 100 million people in the United States! Managing diabetes or prediabetes is difficult on its own but these conditions also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. 

November is National Diabetes Month, an annual observance dedicated to raising awareness about diabetes. This month, make your health a priority by taking steps to improve your diabetes and heart health.

Luckily there are steps you can take this month to protect your heart and improve your health overall. Keep reading to learn how diabetes affects your heart and what you can do to help.

  1. High Blood Glucose

Diabetes can lead to a variety of health complications, including heart disease and stroke. This is because high blood glucose caused by diabetes can damage your blood vessels along with the nerves in your heart and blood vessels. Unfortunately, this can lead to heart disease over time.

People who have diabetes are more prone to heart disease at a younger age than those without it. Adults with diabetes are almost twice as likely to also have heart disease. Lowering your blood sugar levels can help to reduce your risk of heart disease.

  1. High Cholesterol Levels

Having diabetes often causes high cholesterol. This is when there is an increased amount of cholesterol in your blood. When “bad” cholesterol or LDL builds up in your blood it can clog your blood vessels and raise your risk of heart disease

Visiting a heart specialist for regular check-ups can determine your current heart health and how to manage any early warning signs. You can also improve your cholesterol levels by eating a more plant-based diet and getting plenty of physical activity.

  1. Kidney Disease

When your kidneys are damaged, they can’t filter blood properly. Having diabetes raises your risk of developing kidney disease. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) has been linked to heart disease. This is partly because they share similar symptoms such as high blood sugar, obesity, unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, family history, and inactivity.

Over time, issues such as high blood sugar damage the kidneys. Their inability to filter blood properly puts further strain on your heart. When this happens, CKD can occur which causes the heart to have to pump harder to push blood to your kidneys. This can lead to heart disease.

Luckily the same positive healthy habits that reduce your risk of other diseases can also help you lower your risk of developing kidney disease. This includes quitting smoking, eating a diabetes-friendly diet, exercising regularly, and getting regular check-ups with your doctor.

  1. High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is when your heart has to work harder to pump your blood throughout your body. The strain on your heart over time increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. 

Unfortunately having diabetes means you are twice as likely to have high blood pressure. This also means you are four times more likely to develop heart disease. If you have diabetes it’s important to have your blood pressure tested regularly. Your doctor may decide to prescribe medication to help lower your blood pressure and protect your heart.

  1. Chronic Smoking

If you are a smoker and also have diabetes, this is dangerous for your heart. This is because smoking and diabetes both narrow your blood vessels, causing further strain on your heart. Smoking also increases your chances of lung disease, foot or leg amputation, and lower leg infections and ulcers.

Quitting smoking today can instantly begin to help improve your health and reduce your risks. Even if you’ve been smoking for many years, quitting smoking now can make a difference.

  1. Obesity

Your health problems can increase if you have diabetes and are overweight. Obesity also raises your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure. Increasing your physical activity and eating healthily often leads to lower blood sugar levels.

If you want to lower your risk for heart disease, you can work with a specialist to help find a healthy plan to reduce your weight and excess belly fat. This can improve your overall health and prevent a variety of serious illnesses.

Take Steps to Improve Your Heart Health

The cardiovascular experts at HeartCare Associates of Connecticut provide comprehensive cardiac care at their state-of-the-art facilities and can provide the advanced medical management you need to improve your diabetes and heart health. Call us to request an appointment today! 203-407-2500

Don’t wait to take action toward better health this month. Let us help you gain peace of mind for you and your family by scheduling an appointment here

Are Allergies Affecting Your Heart?

Are you plagued by pesky fall allergies? You might be familiar with the runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes that come with seasonal allergies, but did you know it could have an effect on your heart?

If you’re prone to allergies then it may surprise you to know that allergic disorders have a connection to more serious heart health issues. Keep reading to find out if you could be at risk for high blood pressure and coronary disease and what you can do to protect your heart.

What Causes Fall Allergies?

During the months of August through November, you may find that your seasonal allergies take a turn for the worse. Ragweed thrives on the East Coast and in the Midwest but grows wild in most areas of the country. During the fall it blooms and releases pollen, causing many of us to be hit with bouts of stuffiness, burning eyes, and congestion.

Ragweed isn’t the only cause. Burning bush, pigweed, sagebrush, lamb’s-quarters, mugwort, and cocklebur are other common plants that trigger allergies in the fall. The severity of your allergies can also depend on the weather. For example, windy and warm days cause pollen counts to surge and pollen levels increase when cool nights meet warm days.

If you find that you feel sick often with a cough or head congestion, then it’s time to visit an allergist. This is key to determining exactly what is causing these symptoms.

Addressing your allergy symptoms is important to your quality of life. But there are even more severe effects that chronic allergies can have on your overall health. New research has shown that individuals with allergies or asthma who have suffered between the ages of 18 and 57 are at a higher risk of high blood pressure. The highest risk of high blood pressure was shown to be people with asthma.  

 Why Are They Connected?

Factors such as family history, lack of exercise, diabetes, smoking, and obesity can contribute to increasing your risk of heart disease. But why are allergies and asthma also connected?

Although previous studies found a potential correlation, the latest research has proven to be far more accurate and reliable. Scientists used data on over 10,000 people with at least one allergic disorder to test their hypothesis. These included those with respiratory, food, and/or skin allergies. 

Not only did they find correlations to high blood pressure, but they also showed a higher risk for coronary heart disease. This was specifically noted for people between the ages of 39 and 57 who had allergies. 

Coronary heart disease (CAD) can cause a heart attack in some people. It occurs when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. This causes the arteries to narrow over time and can partially or completely block blood flow.

The connection between allergies, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease is still unclear. However, researchers are confident that the correlation between both has something to do with increased inflammation in the body.

While histamines are a natural way that your body combats threats by increasing blood flow to the area of attack, prolonged inflammation is known to lead to many chronic diseases. This includes diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

In addition, the antihistamines used in many allergy medications (and D, or pseudoephedrine in over-the-counter allergy medications) constrict blood flow. This is meant to counter the inflammatory response.

However, this also leads to narrowing blood vessels throughout the body, which can result in high blood pressure as well as an increased heart rate. Steroids prescribed for asthma attacks may also have a long-term negative effect on the cardiovascular system.

The combination of these and other factors such as poor diet, stress, lack of exercise, pollution, and other influences, can lead to a higher risk of heart issues.

What Does this Mean for You?

If you struggle with allergies or asthma and are concerned about your heart health, then there are many ways you can protect your heart now. 

Lifestyle changes including healthy eating and increasing your physical activity can improve your overall heart health. You may need to avoid sugary and high-process foods which can increase inflammation in the body. Quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol are also recommended.

In addition, it is highly recommended that you reach out to your doctor for a routine evaluation of blood pressure and coronary heart disease. Based on their findings, researchers recommend clinicians add a cardiovascular risk assessment for patients with asthma and allergies.

The key to your heart health is catching early signs of cardiovascular disease before you experience any serious symptoms. This allows you and your doctor to create an effective treatment and/or preventative plan to keep your heart healthy for years to come.

Check Your Heart’s Health Today

This new research is a great way to stay aware of potential risks associated with your heart. Thankfully you don’t have to wonder about your heart’s health. A simple check up can help put your mind at ease.

Schedule an appointment with one of our expert cardiologists today. Heart disease is often undetected and minor heart attacks go undiagnosed every day. A quick evaluation can prevent more serious heart problems in the future.

Don’t wait to take action toward better health this month. Let us help you gain peace of mind for you and your family by scheduling an appointment here

5 Ways to Benefit from National Healthy Aging Month

Have you heard? September is National Healthy Aging Month! It’s a great reminder of the importance of regular health check-ups, which are fundamental for detecting and managing potential health issues early on.

Routine screenings, vaccinations, and consultations with healthcare professionals can help prevent and manage chronic conditions, ensuring a higher quality of life as we age. Let’s take a look at some ways to make sure you are giving your body the support it needs.

  1. Get the Most From Your Greens

It’s never too late to start a healthy eating plan. As you age, your dietary needs change. Take time this month to reassess your daily food and drink intake. What are some easy changes or adjustments you can make to incorporate more nutritious foods into your diet? What are some unhealthy foods you can reduce or eliminate?

Eating nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables can help fuel your body instead of stressing it. Be sure you’re drinking plenty of liquids to stay hydrated. The average healthy adult should drink about 15.5 cups of fluids a day (for men) and 11.5 cups of fluids a day (for women).

Another aspect of healthy living is avoiding harmful substances such as alcohol and smoking. These habits are known to increase your chances of heart disease and stroke, among other life-threatening illnesses.

If you want to get back on track with your diet, then consider a consultation with a nutritionist who can provide you with an individualized plan.

  1. Stay Up-to-Date on Regular Check-Ups

Many health conditions are treatable if you’re able to detect them early. That’s why it’s important to not skip your regular check-ups. 

At HeartCare Associates of CT, we strongly believe in wellness visits to prevent any major heart issues. Our team of cardiologists can evaluate, diagnose, and treat nearly any cardiovascular concern from heart disease and peripheral arterial disease to angina and heart attack.

Many people are completely unaware that they have high cholesterol and/or blood pressure – two common heart conditions. You may feel perfectly healthy and still have one of these underlying issues. Meeting with your doctor regularly to monitor your heart can help you discover these conditions before they become more serious.

Regular check-ups are especially recommended if you have health issues that run in your family. 

  1. Start Moving Toward Your Goals

National Healthy Aging Month is a great time to get motivated and get moving. Exercising and staying active as you age has many benefits to preventing, delaying, and managing chronic diseases. It can help you maintain stamina and even improve your brain health. Being physically fit reduces your risk of falling, which can cause severe injury.

Don’t stress about how much exercise you add to your regular routine. Even just 22-30 minutes a day of exercise such as walking or muscle-strengthening activities (at least two days a week), can make a difference in your overall health.

Studies suggest that people who exercise regularly live longer. Physical activity is also linked to a better quality of life. Furthermore, a study of adults (40 and older) revealed that those taking 8,000 steps or more per day, compared to 4,000 steps, were at a 51% lower risk of death from all causes.

  1. Beyond Your Body

It’s easy to forget that wellness includes more than just your physical health. Don’t forget to care for your mental and emotional well-being. These aspects of your health are vital to the quality of your life and how fulfilling it is. 

Part of honoring your mental and emotional health includes expressing your thoughts and feelings through constructive outlets. It also includes practicing stress management techniques, being able to accept and forgive yourself, and reaching out for support. 

To stimulate your mind, consider taking courses or workshops on topics that excite you. Pick up a new book that expands your imagination or teaches you new lessons. It’s important to exercise your mind just as much as your body.

Don’t assume that forgetfulness is a normal part of aging. If you notice changes in your memory, increased confusion, or difficulty communicating, it’s important to address these symptoms early on. If you do show signs of dementia, your primary care doctor can provide a diagnosis and offer some ways to manage it.

  1. Sharing in Social Circles You Care About  

Part of a healthy lifestyle as you age, is maintaining a positive social life. This can include being active in your community, family, or a close friend group. Maintaining relationships with others and building a support network is important to the overall quality of your life. 

By contributing to your community, you’re building a sense of belonging and adding deeper levels of purpose to your life. If you feel like you could use some more socializing in your life, then consider volunteering for your community. Offer your personal talents and skills as a way to help others. 

Plan a fun get-together or trip with your friends or family members. Schedule a weekly meet-up for coffee, dinner, or a walk in nature. Socializing provides you with a group of like-minded individuals who can offer help and encouragement when you need it most. Plus, it feels good to help others and be there for them too.

Together you can offer motivation to stay healthy and active. You’re more likely to stick with, and reach, your goals when you have a workout buddy.

Get Ready to Make the Most of September!

It can be hard to keep up with how quickly time flies. Make National Healthy Aging Month your time to check in with your health so it doesn’t slow you down. As we age, our body naturally changes. It’s easy to forget to stay on top of our regular check-ups.

This is the perfect time to schedule an appointment with one of our expert cardiologists. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Luckily, it is preventable and treatable if detected early on. 

Don’t wait to take action toward better health this month. Let us help you gain peace of mind for you and your family by scheduling an appointment here