• February 23, 2020

Give our heart some love - Odessa American: Local News

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Give our heart some love

MCH offers heart health checkups

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Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2020 2:45 am

Andrew M. Freeman said patients sometimes find it funny when he talks about love while discussing ways to keep their hearts healthy.

A cardiologist at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colo., Freeman said there are five recommendations he makes to patients to help them in the battle against cardiovascular disease, and emotional support is one of those items.

Being able to connect with others and having a strong support system, Freeman said, can help in the long run when it comes to their heart health.

“People always love when they talk about love, but there’s really data behind (its benefits),” he said.

While most people think about chocolate hearts during the month of February, Freeman and other health professionals focus on bringing awareness to heart health during February.

According to Freeman, heart disease is the biggest killer of Americans per year, and the American Heart Association states heart disease kills more people in a year than all forms of cancer combined.

To help put the number in perspective, figures from the American Heart Association show heart attacks affect more people every year than there are people in Dallas.

In Odessa, Medical Center Health System is offering residents a heart health checkup for $75. During the screening participants will be able to learn their Calcium Score, their blood pressure, body mass index, and cholesterol and triglycerides numbers.

No physician’s orders are needed for the exam, and no insurance will be filed to get tested, the MCH website states.

Odessa Regional Medical Center also is offering a Heartview Scan for $75.

“Freeman said in addition to support, a lifestyle change he recommends includes a low-fat, plant-based diet that includes foods such as oatmeal, salads, and encourages the eating of less meat.”

With more food options available and information out there, Freeman said the diet is a great place to start for lifestyle changes.

“It’s incredibly easy to do,” he said.

Freeman also said he advises people to do at least 30 minutes of breathless exercise: where someone works out until they reach the point of breathlessness. He also said that at first, getting to 30 minutes will take longer because people have to build stamina over time.

Reducing stress and sleeping more are the final ways Freeman recommends people take care of their heart. Doing yoga or taking a hike can help reduce someone’s stress, and getting at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep will help improve someone’s health.

And if there are too many rules, Freeman said he tries to keep it as simple as possible.

“If you want to get it right … I tell people to eat mostly plants, exercise more, stress less, love more, and sleep more,” he said.

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