The leading cause of death in the United States, heart disease is not a condition to be taken likely. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of a heart attack. Lifestyle adjustments and habits can have a powerful impact on the health of your heart, and at Virgin Islands Orthopaedics and Medical Specialists in St. Thomas and St. Croix we are dedicated to helping you lead a heart-smart lifestyle. Here are some ways you can reduce your risk and achieve your best health:
Smoking, and even exposure to second-hand smoke, increases your risk of suffering a heart attack, as well as slowing the recovery process. Ask your provider about programs and aids to help you quit smoking if you are struggling to give up nicotine.
Physical activity is an important component of heart health. Any activity that raises your heart rate counts, from vigorous exercise like running to more low impact activities like biking. Even performing chores and playing at the park can help strengthen your heart.
Eat a nutritious diet
While it's okay to have treats on occasion, make sure the majority of your caloric intake comes from unprocessed, vitamin, and mineral-rich foods. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats and dairy, whole grains, and healthy fats like nuts and olive oil are great choices. Remember to include plenty of fiber in your diet, and limit saturated and trans fats. If you're having a problem creating a healthy meal plan, talk to your St. Thomas and St. Croix providers.
Watch your cholesterol
"Bad" cholesterol, or LDL, should be kept at a low level to reduce the risk of a heart attack, while "good" cholesterol, or HDL, should be a higher number. Diet and fitness may be enough to get your cholesterol on track, or your provider may prescribe medication.
Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity, or being underweight, can put a strain on your heart. Because body mass index measurements don't take into account factors like muscle percentage, age, and fitness level, ask your provider to help identify your ideal weight range, and adjust your diet and fitness as necessary to achieve that weight.
Keep your stress low
A high-stress lifestyle can do a number on your heart, so it is important to find a balance between work, leisure, and sleep. Try mediation, breathing exercises, or talking to a friend if you find your stress levels are peaking.
Reach out to the experts at Virgin Islands Orthopaedics and Medical Specialists today for more tips on reducing your risk of a heart attack. Call our St. Thomas office at 340-714-2845 or reach our St. Croix location at 340-692-5000.
We usually hear more about men's susceptibility or risk of heart attacks but what women go through is underreported. Truth is, "about 1 in 16 women age 20 and older have coronary heart disease," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You should call 911 and rush to the hospital if someone has a heart attack, and notify your Virgin Island Orthopaedics and Medical Specialists in St. Thomas and St. Croix.
What is a heart attack?
A heart attack is when arteries supplying the heart with oxygenated blood narrow because of plaque buildup. Very little oxygen or none at all reaches the heart, causing a heart attack. Here's an animation of a heart attack to give you a better idea of what happened.
Heart Disease and Heart Attacks: Men vs. Women
Heart disease in men is usually due to coronary artery blockages, obstructive coronary artery disease. Women develop heart disease in the smaller arteries.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
Women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain, just like men, but women are more likely to suffer from other symptoms, like shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and back or jaw pain. It's important to know the difference so you can seek proper treatment from your providers in St. Croix and St. Thomas.
Other symptoms include:
- Pressure in the chest that lasts more than a few minutes
- Shooting pain in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
- Breaking out in a cold sweat
"Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Women often underplay symptoms and assume they have the flu or acid reflux.
Angina in Women
Angina is a precursor to a heart attack. You may feel tightness, pressure, or discomfort in your chest while exercising or stressed. If you suffer from angina, you need to speak with your doctor in St. Thomas or St. Croix. Symptoms in women include:
- Feeling out of breath
- Abdominal pain
- Sharp chest pain
Need a consultation?
If you need to speak with a doctor, contact Virgin Island Orthopaedics and Medical Specialists in St. Thomas and St. Croix at either location: (340) 714-2845 for St. Thomas or (340) 692-5000 for St. Croix.
Chest pain may be a result of anything, from a muscle strain to injured ribs or peptic ulcers to asthma. But the doctors of Virgin Island Orthopaedics and Medical Specialists in St. Thomas and St. Croix would like to tell you more about angina, chest pain about 10 million Americans experience, according to Medscape.
What is angina?
Angina, a symptom of coronary artery disease, is a chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. People feel a variety of symptoms in the chest, arms, neck, jaw, shoulder, or back, like:
- Recurring pain
- Shortness of breath
Angina could be on-and-off as weather changes or when you exercise but eventually goes away on its own. If these symptoms persist, you need to immediately inform your Virgin Island Orthopaedics and Medical Specialists in St. Thomas and St. Croix. Doctors need to evaluate your condition, namely because angina is a precursor to a heart attack.
Types of Angina
Stable angina is triggered by a physical activity because your heart demands more blood but narrow arteries limit blood flow. Other triggers include emotional stress, cold temperatures, heavy meals, and smoking.
Unstable angina is when fatty deposits cause the blood vessels to suddenly rupture, resulting in a clot that blocks, or reduces, blood flow.
Prinzmetal's angina is a sudden spasm in a coronary artery that temporarily narrows the artery, reduces blood flow and causing chest pain. This typically occurs overnight and attacks occur in clusters because of emotional stress, smoking, and certain blood-vessel tightening medications.
- Quit smoking
- Monitor and control high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes
- Eat a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Increasing your physical activity with your doctor's approval
- Reduce your stress level
- Get an annual flu shot
Do you need to speak with your doctor?
If you'd like to speak with a Virgin Island Orthopaedics and Medical Specialists in St. Thomas and St. Croix, call them at either location: St. Thomas at (340) 714-2845 or St. Croix (340) 692-5000.
Aches and pains aren't uncommon, resulting from everything from a rough and tumble game of football to carrying a heavy load. And while with ice, rest, and a pain reliever the discomfort typically goes away in a couple of days, persistent severe soreness and intensive pain may be cause for concern.
If shoulder pain is keeping you awake, preventing you from participating in your daily activities, or leaving you feeling miserable, let the specialists at Virgin Islands Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in St. Thomas and St. Croix help you find the source of your pain and a solution that puts you back in action. Dr. Jeffrey Chase and Ahmet Sayan are here for any questions you may have.
What are some causes of shoulder pain?
Shoulder pain can be the result of age, activity, injury, or health condition. Arthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis may leave you with shoulder pain. A fracture or stress to the shoulder muscle caused by athletic activity or manual labor can cause shoulder pain. A health condition such as nerve damage or even untreated infection is also possible sources of your shoulder pain. Make sure to let your provider In Saint Thomas and St. Croix know about any recent injuries, activities, or ailments you have experienced that could be related to your discomfort.
How is shoulder pain evaluated?
Locating the source, and identifying the severity of your shoulder pain will likely require a look at your medical history, including prior injuries or health conditions. Describing the pain to your provider will help assist them in understanding your shoulder pain, and you may need an x-ray, CT scan, or ultrasound to check for ligament, tendon or joint problems, or an injury not obvious from the exterior.
How will my shoulder pain be treated?
Depending on the intensity and cause of your shoulder pain, your St. Thomas and St. Croix provider may advise temporary lifestyle adjustments, such as rest, avoiding intensive activities, and limiting the lifting and carrying of weighty items. More intensive treatments include physical therapy, rehabilitation, or a prescription pain reliever. Surgery may be necessary if your shoulder pain is the result of a tear or dislocation.
Contact Islands Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in St. Thomas by calling 340-714-2845, or reach our St. Croix office at 340-692-5000 if you are seeking help for shoulder pain.
It’s never too late to invest in your heart health.
Heart disease is the number one killer of American men and women; however, it’s comforting to know that just by improving your lifestyle, you can drastically improve the health of your heart. From our offices in St. Thomas and St. Croix, Dr. Jeffrey Chase, and cardiologist, Dr. Ahmet Sayan, can help reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.
If you don’t already get regular aerobic exercise each week, then it’s time to start incorporating physical fitness into your lifestyle. This translates to about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of intense exercise. If you already work out regularly, try upping the intensity of your current routine to gain even more benefits. If you are just starting your fitness journey, your cardiologist can discuss ways to begin working out safely.
Choose a Healthy, Balanced Diet
What you eat has a profound impact on your health. Your diet should consist of mainly whole grains, vegetables, lean proteins, legumes, nuts, and plant-based proteins, as well as lean animal protein such as chicken or fish. Avoid refined sugar and starches such as cakes, cookies, white bread, and pasta. Always check the nutrition labels and avoid most packaged foods, as they are chock full of sodium, sugar, and other preservatives.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
It’s also incredibly important to maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI). If you are overweight, it’s important to consult with your cardiologist to determine the best strategies to help you lose weight safely. Eating healthy and regularly exercising are two of the biggest habits you can adopt to help lose excess weight and maintain your ideal BMI.
If you use tobacco products or you smoke, it’s time to ditch the habit. Smoking causes a lot of serious health problems including an elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat. If you are having trouble quitting, your cardiologist can help you find successful ways to ditch the habit for good. It’s also important to avoid secondhand smoke, which can also have detrimental effects on your health.
Virgin Islands Orthopaedics and Medical Specialists deeply cares about the health of its patients, especially during the pandemic. This is why we are offering telemedicine appointments for patients dealing with minor issues or currently undergoing physical therapy; however, our medical team is still caring for patients dealing with cardiac and musculoskeletal problems. For walk-in emergency care, please give us a call first at our St. Thomas office at (340) 714-2845 or our St. Croix office at (340) 692-5000.
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