Make heart health your habit

Two women hiking
Written by Staff

It’s impossible to count all the ways your heart supports you in a single day. Whether it’s checking out a new trail, gardening or simply playing with your kids, every beat of your heart helps you do all the activities you enjoy most.

That’s why it’s vital to take care of your cardiovascular health—and doing so is easier than you might think. According to the experts at Wellstar MCG Health Medical Center, consistency is key.

“Taking small steps to improve your heart health is the key to long term success. For example, start by taking short brisk walks and gradually increase the time and distance. Or try a heart-healthy home cooked meal,” said Dr. Vishal Arora, a preventative cardiologist at Wellstar MCG Health and director of the peripheral vascular intervention program at the Medical College of Georgia, where he is also a professor of medicine in the cardiology department.

Detect heart disease at the start

Getting a heart screening is a great way to care for your cardiac health. The Preventive Cardiology screening program helps catch potential heart problems early, so you can live life to the fullest. Through this testing, you can learn your risk of heart disease and other serious conditions, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

After the screening, you will receive an individualized health report with all the latest stats about your heart. Our team will go over the results with you one-on-one and recommend lifestyle modifications to help you be the healthiest you.

Protecting your heart takes a team

Along with monitoring your overall well-being, your primary care provider can help catch potential heart problems early.

Your provider will check the Foundational 4 numbers that are the cornerstone of general wellness and heart health, including:

  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood glucose (sugar)
  • Blood cholesterol

“If you have one or more risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inactive lifestyle or tobacco use, consider seeking a referral to a preventive cardiologist who can calculate your risk and take steps to improve your heart health,” Dr. Arora explained.

When it comes to staying ahead of potential health issues, Dr. Arora also shared the importance of being aware of your family history and understanding how to offset any risks you may have inherited.

“All risk factors for heart disease, except age, are modifiable. In the past, I would tell patients it is something you were born with—like a bad hand dealt—but now we know that by living a healthy lifestyle you can offset some of the genetic risk factors. Regardless of family history, adhering to some healthy lifestyle changes can decrease those risks,” Dr. Arora said.

Learn more about our advanced heart care services.

To improve your heart health, I recommend following American Heart Association’s Life Essential 8 measures—eat better, be more active, quit tobacco, get healthy sleep, manage weight, control cholesterol, manage blood sugar, and manage blood pressure. If you want to keep things simple, just remember to walk daily and don’t smoke.                                                             

                                                                                                      – Dr. Vishal Arora

Tips to invest in your heart health

Think of healthy habits like a savings account. Each small change adds up over time in the days, months and even years you invest in your well-being.

By following these tips, you can be proactive about protecting your heart.

  • Focus on food. Eat a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat protein sources like lean meats. Be sure to control your portion size, reduce sodium intake and limit unhealthy fats.
  • Get a good workout. Any aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, dancing or biking, is beneficial for your heart. At least 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week is recommended, according to the American Heart Association.
  • Keep track of the scale. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of serious medical conditions, including high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking can be harmful to your heart and blood vessels as well as many other vital organs. Learn the benefits of quitting for good.
  • Manage stress & your mental health. Depression, anxiety and chronic stress may be harmful to your heart. These issues can even cause physical problems, including irregular heart rate and increased blood pressure. If you feel overwhelmed, find support from a Wellstar behavioral health specialist. 


Schedule your heart screening today

Call (706) 721-8937 or visit the Preventive Cardiology website for more information.