Love is in the Air and in our Hearts!
As the love holiday approaches, we focus our attention on Valentine’s Day. How did Valentines Day originate you may ask? There are many different stories behind this question but the popular belief is that it began with a saint – St. Valentine. He was a priest from Rome in the third century AD. “An Emperor named Claudius II had banned marriage because he thought married men were bad soldiers. Valentine felt this was unfair, so he broke the rules and arranged marriages in secret. When Claudius found out, he threw Valentine in jail and sentenced him to death. There, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and on the 14th of February (his execution date), he sent her a love letter signed ‘from your Valentine’.”
What an interesting story… and while celebrating Valentine’s Day is all in good fun, the month of February is significant for another reason as well. This month we recognize and raise awareness for American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, heart disease causes 1 in 4 deaths. This month, our goal is to take measures towards preventing heart disease. In order to spread awareness, we urge you to try to incorporate spices into your meals instead of salt. Salt raises the amount of sodium in our bloodstreams, reducing the kidneys’ ability to process and remove excess water, which in turn can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension). So, diet is crucial in preventing heart disease. Too much fat, especially saturated fats, clog our arteries and raise our cholesterol levels. Ideally, we want to prevent excess body fat, high blood pressure, increased levels of blood sugar, high triglycerides, and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (our good cholesterol) to stay optimally healthy.
Exercise is crucial in maintaining a healthy weight. Be active every day! Our school systems need to encourage this and join it into their curriculums so that it is instilled from a young age. The Department of Health and Human Services says that most healthy adults should exercise “[a]At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.” When we do moderate exercise, like walking, our heart beats faster and we breathe a little harder which pumps blood flow from and to our heart. Our muscles will then use more glucose, the sugar in our blood stream, which will help regulate blood sugar levels. It also promotes better insulin production throughout our bodies.
The third main topic I would like to touch on, during heart month, is smoking. Smoking and even second-hand smoke put us at an increased risk for developing cardiovascular diseases. “Smoking damages the lining of our arteries leading to a build up of fatty material, which can narrow our arteries.” The chemicals in tobacco harm our blood cells, our blood vessels, and heart function. This is the reason that smoking can lead to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque accumulates in the arteries due to damage to the endothelium around the blood vessels.
February is a month for celebrating your “Valentine” and their healthy heart. Try and spread awareness by wearing red this month. Take the proper steps towards preventing heart disease by eating healthy, exercising, staying at a healthy weight, drinking alcohol in moderation, managing your stress, quitting smoking/staying away from second-hand smoke, and controlling your cholesterol.
February 12, 2017
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
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Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. Andrew Kender, Dr. Robert Nichols, Chiropractic Physicians