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Tennova gives alternative Valentine tips

Staff Reports • Updated Feb 2, 2017 at 2:00 PM

This year, Americans will spend about $2 billion on candy gifts for the special Valentines in their lives. 

That’s good news for the chocolate industry, but it’s also a whole lot of sugar.

Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon officials urge anyone looking for a non-traditional Valentine gift for a loved one to consider giving the gift of a healthier heart.

While the country has made much progress in diagnosing, preventing and treating heart disease in the past three decades, it is still the leading cause of death by far – responsible for more deaths than all forms of cancer combined.

The greatest accomplishment in this area has almost certainly been the acknowledgement that women are at equal risk to men for heart disease, while their symptoms may be significantly different.

With millions of adult men and women living with heart disease, and millions more living with the risk factors that precede heart disease, here are some things people can focus on this Valentine’s Day to help protect their heart – and the heart of their sweetheart.  

Tips include:

Evaluate and address metabolic syndrome. This is a group of health risks – large waist size, elevated blood pressure, glucose intolerance, low HDL cholesterol, and high triglycerides – that dramatically increases your chance of developing heart disease. But metabolic syndrome is reversible, and your doctor can help you determine your ideal numbers. Ideal Valentine’s Day gifts include a tandem bike, healthy cooking classes and a beginner’s yoga DVD.

• Address diabetes head-on. Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease in women even more than it does in men. Although women usually develop heart disease about 10 years later than men, diabetes erases that advantage. Type II diabetes is highly treatable, and in some cases, even reversible. Work with a doctor to prevent or manage the condition and add years to your life. Ideal Valentine’s Day gifts include fresh strawberries, gift cards for smoothies and a personal blood glucose monitor. 

• Stop smoking. Smoking remains one of the greatest independent risks for heart attack and stroke in both sexes, but women who smoke are twice as likely to have a heart attack as male smokers. Ideal Valentine’s Day gifts include quitting smoking together, asking a doctor for an appropriate “stop smoking aid” if either person struggles to quit.

• Get moving. It’s been heard, “sitting is the new smoking.” Even if someone works out for an hour a few days each week, sitting more than six hours a day increases the risk of heart disease almost as much as smoking. Ideal Valentine’s Day gifts include a standing work desk, mini stair stepper, activity band or pedometer and high-quality running shoes.

• Chill out together. The dangers of chronic stress, overwork and sleep deprivation cannot be overestimated in terms of their impact on heart health. Americans’ lives are notoriously busy and stress-filled, so use Valentine’s Day to focus on happiness and relaxation. Ideal Valentine’s Day gifts include a couple’s spa day, weekend vacation or staycation and local meditation or yoga classes.

• Get peace of mind. Anyone with risk factors, symptoms or a family history of heart disease should invest in appropriate diagnostic testing to ensure the risk is managed. Work with a doctor to determine which testing is best. Ideal Valentine’s Day gifts include a scheduled visit with a cardiologist, EKG, cardiac stress test, C-reactive protein and a cardiac calcium scoring test.

 

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