Ask the Expert: Keeping Up With Cardiovascular Health

  Keeping Up with Cardiovascular Health
Dr. Adeunice Sanchez-Mata, a family medicine physician with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers, answers questions regarding risks, symptoms and warning signs to help prevent heart attack and stroke, along with steps to improve cardiovascular health.

How much activity should I get for better cardiovascular health?
Aim to walk 30 minutes a day all at once or in sessions of 10 minutes each. Try taking an evening walk with your family instead of watching TV or listening to an audiobook and walking instead of staying seated with a paper book.

How can I control my cholesterol?
Eat more fruits, grains and vegetables, which contain no cholesterol. Limit saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol from meats, butter and dairy.

How should I improve my diet?
Limit foods and drinks that are high in calories but low in nutrients. Avoid processed meals and bake or broil instead of frying. Split your plate into three sections: veggies, lean meat and whole grains.

Why do I need to manage my blood pressure? I feel fine.
Don’t trust how you feel. Know your numbers. Normal reads 120/80mmHg. Consume a healthy diet, decrease salt intake and manage stress. Visit your doctor; medication may be needed to control blood pressure.

How do I maintain a healthy weight?
Focus on burning as many calories as you eat. Monitor your progress, keep motivated and involve friends in the challenge. Set short-term goals to lose weight; reward yourself with fun activities.

What can I do to decrease my blood sugar?
Eat small portions more frequently during the day. Choose longer-to-digest carbohydrates: whole wheat, fruits and vegetables. Drink enough water; reduce refined carbohydrates like donuts and sugar.

How can I stop smoking?
Focus on the positive aspects of quitting and manage stress. Start by smoking fewer cigarettes; know your triggers like driving or drinking. Involve someone else for support.

For More Information
For more information about heart and vascular care at Sharp or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego cardiologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. 

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About the Expert
Dr. Adeunice Sanchez-Mata is a family medicine physician with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers.