New Year, Same Heart

By Guest Blogger
Dr. Gioia Turitto
Director of Electrophysiology
New York Methodist Hospital

Every January we are presented with an opportunity for a fresh start, a new perspective and renewed commitment to health. As fleeting as it may seem, it is a worthwhile effort to refocus on living healthier lives that reduce the risk of heart disease. While each and every New Year brings new resolutions, our Gioia_Turitto_04heart is rarely replaceable. We must take care of it.

To keep our bodies healthy and active, our organs need oxygen that is delivered through consistent blood flow—this requires a regular healthy heartbeat. To help reduce the risk of heart disease and live a healthy life following diagnosis, consider the following:

Take Care of Your Heart: The American Heart Association has developed My Life Check, an assessment tool that provides personalized recommendations to achieving heart health. Take a few moments and get to know your personal heart health.

Know the Symptoms and Screen: Remember that high-blood pressure and high cholesterol generally have no symptoms but can cause irreparable damage. Screening is a must. Heart disease can be a very silent killer. Heart arrhythmias are very common and likelihood increases with age. Be kind to your body and never shy away from talking to your doctor. Too often fatigue, lightheadedness, chest fluttering, nausea, jaw pain and weakness are thought of as symptoms of today’s busy lifestyle, when in fact these are symptoms of a heart attack.

Evaluate Treatment Options: Talk to your physician about how to best manage your condition. In many cases, diet, exercise and medication can effectively prevent issues. For others, a medical procedure is necessary. Pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) can regulate the heart’s electrical function and keep it beating properly. Today, these devices offer vast innovative options: physiologic rate adaption through closed loop stimulation (CLS) to ensure regular heart beat in times of emotional and mental distress; FDA approved MRI conditional pacemakers and ICDs that provide patients with access to MRI scans now and in the future; and, home monitoring systems that enable physicians to monitor for potential issues from afar providing significant peace of mind for patients.

LIVE with the Heart Disease & Cardiac Abnormalities: Medication, lifestyle adjustments, pacemakers and ICDs save and improve lives for patients. The key to long-term success is knowing how to take care of your body and live your life fully following treatment. Talk to your doctor about resuming the activities you love and staying active.

This year, take care of your heart. Build a healthy lifestyle, know the signs and symptoms of heart disease and learn about treatment options that help you live a fulfilling, active life. You deserve it.

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