Tips for a Healthy Heart

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Features -

With Fe­bru­ary be­ing Amer­i­can Heart Month, now is an ideal time to find ways to pre­vent heart disease and prac­tice habits that de­velop a healthy heart.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Disease Con­trol and Preven­tion, heart disease is the lead­ing cause of death for men and women in the United States.

Dr. Eric Bowen said “there are over 1 mil­lion deaths a year from heart disease (or car­dio­vas­cu­lar causes) which is more than all deaths from all forms of can­cer com­bined.”

Bowen is board cer­ti­fied in car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases, and has prac­ticed car­di­ol­ogy at Hot Springs Car­di­ol­ogy As­so­ci­ates since 2010. He has nearly 15 years of in­ter­ven­tional car­di­ol­ogy ex­pe­ri­ence, hav­ing prac­ticed in the Conway and Lit­tle Rock ar­eas prior to com­ing to Hot Springs.

“Al­though much em­pha­sis is placed on breast can­cer for women and prostate can­cer for men, this ac­counts for 85,000 deaths a year for both groups,” Bowen said. “As a man or a woman you are more likely to die from heart disease than from can­cer.”

Bowen said that rou­tine ex­er­cise pro­grams and fol­low­ing a healthy diet can re­duce the risk of de­vel­op­ing heart disease.

“In­ac­tiv­ity, and di­ets high in car­bo­hy­drates and sat­u­rated fats can lead to be­ing over­weight or obe­sity,” Bowen said. “This greatly in­creases the risk of de­vel­op­ing di­a­betes which can ac­cel­er­ate the de­vel­op­ment of heart disease.”

Risk fac­tors like hy­per­ten­sion, di­a­betes, high choles­terol and smok­ing can lead to risks of heart disease, ac­cord­ing to Bowen.

“I think the big­gest prob­lem in re­gards to heart health is that the vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple have no idea of their risk fac­tors for heart disease and how preva­lent and wide­spread heart disease re­ally is in the United States,” Bowen said.

Con­cerns about heart disease aren’t just some­thing for older adults to worry about ei­ther.

“In my prac­tice of car­di­ol­ogy the past 15 years I have no­ticed that the pa­tients are de­vel­op­ing heart disease at an ear­lier age,” Bowen said. “The pub­lic per­cep­tion is that heart disease af­fects older pa­tients, but I am rou­tinely see­ing pa­tients in their 30s and 40s with heart disease and quite of­ten in an ad­vanced state.”

Some ex­am­ples of ways to avoid heart disease are lim­it­ing al­co­hol con­sump­tion, not smok­ing, main­tain­ing a healthy weight and diet and ex­er­cise, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Disease Con­trol and Preven­tion.

“The best way to avoid heart disease is iden­tify your risk fac­tors and mod­ify them with treat­ment,” Bowen said. “If you have hy­per­ten­sion or di­a­betes th­ese need to be treated with ap­pro­pri­ate med­i­ca­tions. Hy­per­lipi­demia or el­e­vated choles­terol may need to be treated with med­i­ca­tion if diet and ex­er­cise fails to lower the choles­terol or if the pa­tient has mul­ti­ple risk fac­tors for heart disease. If a pa­tient smokes to­bacco, quit­ting will greatly re­duce their chances of de­vel­op­ing heart disease.” Story by CALEB TAY­LOR

Pho­tos by BETH BRIGHT

Dr. Eric Bowen

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