cardiology advice
cardiology advice

Top Advice Cardiologists Give That Patients Rarely Follow

Posted on April 12, 2023 by Henry Ford Health Staff
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Listening to your doctor and taking their advice is an important part of getting on the right track to healthier living. But the reality is, many patients find it easier to skip out on advice and keep on doing what they are doing. When it comes to your heart health, forgoing your doctor’s recommendations can be detrimental – putting you at increased risk for a cardiac episode or worsening any pre-existing conditions.

We asked Henry Ford cardiology experts to share the one piece of advice that they often given that their patients rarely follow. Here’s how they answered:

 

Cardiologist-Recommended Heart Advice

1. Keep Active.

“Staying active is the most important thing you can do for your health,” says Pedro Engel Gonzalez, M.D., an interventional cardiologist at Henry Ford Health. “It’s hard to follow on an everyday basis, but it is super important for your heart long term.”

Regular physical exercise helps to improve circulation and prevent inflammation. Not to mention that staying active can help protect against heart disease or a possible heart attack by helping to lower your blood pressure and balancing blood sugar and blood triglyceride levels.

Choose exercises that get your heart pumping – like going for a brisk walk or taking an aerobics class. Even bite-sized exercises throughout the day are better than nothing!

“I ask patients to climb stairs at least once a day because that is an overall assessment of heart health,” says Bill O’Neill, M.D., director of the Center for Structural Heart Disease at Henry Ford Health.

2. Know Your Numbers.

How Healthy is Your Heart?

Take this heart risk quiz to find out.
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An understanding your overall health is important to know throughout your life, but especially when it comes to your heart. Making sure you are working with your doctor to maintain good blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Remember, your lifestyle choices have a direct impact on these numbers!

3. Quit Smoking.

“I see a lot of patients who smoke and are very sedentary,” says Tiberio Frisolli, M.D., an interventional cardiologist at Henry Ford. “I ask them both before and after procedures to please quit smoking, and while some do it, many unfortunately don’t.”

Smoking damages the inner lining of your blood vessels, putting you at a greater risk for developing heart disease. When you doctor tells you to quit, that means completely. An occasional cigarette or using a vape pen are still equally bad for your heart health in the long run.

4. Eat A Plant-Based Diet.

Eating plant-based doesn’t mean you have to go vegetarian. Instead, it focuses on making healthier food choices by centering your meals around whole, minimally processed foods. Looks for ways to make healthy food swaps every day. Sometimes that is as simple as eating leaner proteins or choosing whole grain bread instead of white bread. These diet changes allow you to eat less of foods high in sodium, trans and saturated fats, sugars and preservatives.

5. Enroll In Cardiac Rehab.

Cardiac rehabilitation goes beyond helping you develop an exercise plan following a heart attack or heart procedure. These programs are also designed to help you learn how your lifestyle directly impacts your health. You’ll work on getting more exercise, making health food choices and how you can continue to monitor your heart health and progress over time.

6. Be Aware Of Other Potential Risk Factors.

“Talk to your doctor about all your risk factors,” says Ryhm Radjef, M.D., director of the Women’s Heart Center at Henry Ford Health. Sometimes your medical history can point to other factors that put you at increased risk for heart problems. That could include:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Family history or heart disease or heart failure

Talk with your doctor to learn about ways you can improve your heart health. And remember – take their advice!


Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or find a heart expert at henryford.com or by calling 1-800-436-7936.

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