February 14, 2014


In February, we celebrate American Heart Month to raise awareness of the dangers associated with heart disease.  Even though it is preventable and controllable, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, approximately 715,000 people in the United States have heart attacks and 600,000 die from heart disease – that is one out of every four deaths.


“By making simple changes, you can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease,” said Bien T. Samson, M.D., General Practice Physician at Trousdale Medical Center.  “A sedentary lifestyle is one of the top risk factors.  In addition to regularly visiting your doctor to monitor your blood pressure and check your cholesterol, you should eat a healthy diet and add exercise to your daily routine to prevent heart disease.”


Regular exercise can improve your health by strengthening your heart, improving your circulation and increasing your endurance.  It also reduces stress, tension, anxiety and depression, among other benefits.


Trousdale Medical Center offers seven ways to keep your heart in shape:


  • Talk to your doctor:  Before beginning an exercise regime, consult with your doctor to check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and to ensure you are healthy enough for exercise. You should also consult your doctor about what kinds of exercise would be best for you. Once you begin a routine, if you feel chest discomfort, sharp pain, dizziness or other symptoms while working out, stop what you’re doing and call your doctor.
  • Stretch:  Before and after exercising you should stretch your arms and legs to prepare your muscles for activity and help prevent muscle strain.  In addition, regular stretching improves your range of motion, flexibility and balance.
  • Do cardiovascular activity:  Cardiovascular activity includes walking, jogging, jumping rope, bicycling and low-impact aerobics or water aerobics, and it is key to strengthening your heart.  It also improves your lung function and your body’s ability to use oxygen.  If you are just beginning a new cardio routine, be sure to start slow to build up your endurance to prevent injury.  Over time, aerobic exercise can help decrease your heart rate and blood pressure at rest and improve your breathing.
  • Do strength training:  Strength training is important for improving your muscle tone and strength.  However, for people with heart failure, some weight lifting exercises are not recommended, so be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning a new strength training routine.
  • Monitor your heart rate:  Ask your doctor what your heart rate should be when exercising and for a formula to monitor your pulse.  You also can use a heart rate monitor to gauge your pulse, or you can try the "talk test.”  When working at high intensity, you won't be able to speak a full sentence without taking a deep breath.
  • Hydrate:  It’s important to drink plenty of water before, during and after exercising.  Water regulates your body temperature, lubricates joints and helps transport nutrients for energy and health.  If you’re not properly hydrated, you may experience fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness or more serious symptoms.
  • Make a routine:  You should exercise for 20 to 30 minutes at least three or four times a week to achieve the best results.

    With regular visits to Trousdale Medical Center for health screenings and by actively participating in heart healthy exercises, you can help control and prevent heart disease.  To learn more about steps you can take today to improve your heart health, talk to your physician or visit www.heart.org.



    About Trousdale Medical Center

    Trousdale Medical Center (TMC) is a 25-bed critical access hospital in Hartsville, Tenn.  The hospital offers diagnostic services, outpatient rehabilitation, 24-hour emergency care and skilled and acute nursing services to the residents of Hartsville and surrounding communities.  TMC is a hospital of HighPoint Health System.  To learn more, visit www.MyTrousdaleMedical.com.



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