When it Comes to Health- Know Your Heart


Lenore Bilger, RN and Care Coordinator, VNS HealthPhoto byVNSNY

By Lenore Bilger, RN and Care Coordinator, VNS Health

HEALTH - February is American Heart Month—but the truth is that heart health is an issue we all need to stay on top of every month of the year. Our hearts are the powerhouses of our bodies, keeping everything running and functioning. And if we ignore our hearts, the consequences can be high.

As a skilled home care nurse at VNS Health, one thing I am especially passionate about is educating my patients on the importance of heart health. I can relate to how scary heart disease can be—I had my own heart scare when I was giving birth, an experience that put into clear perspective just how important it is to stay vigilant in monitoring our health.

Getting into a heart-healthy lifestyle might seem overwhelming at first: “eat this, don’t eat that—exercise,” but there’s no reason to fear taking care of our hearts. In fact, there are many simple steps you can begin taking right now. Here are some of the ways I help my patients get a good start and stay on track:

Stay Hydrated!

Making sure you or a loved one drink water regularly is an easy way to start on the road to a healthier heart and body. I realize that the taste of water isn’t for everyone (even I have to remind myself to refill my water bottle), but there are many safe over-the-counter electrolyte additives you can put in your water to make it more palatable. Another tip I give patients is to cut up a piece of fruit or a cucumber and throw that into your drinks, as an easy way to elevate your basic glass of tap water!

Healthy Meals Make a Difference

Like drinking more water, eating healthy foods is a simple way to maintain a healthy weight and reduce cholesterol levels. Adopting a healthier diet doesn’t have to be boring, and it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite dishes. Sometimes swapping out a cut of meat for something leaner, like skinless chicken or fish, enables you to stick with a recipe you love and still follow heart-healthy guidelines. Or you can double-up on your favorite spices in a dish and cut down on the salt, which often leads to a tastier meal as well!

Check the Family Tree

Heart disease often runs in families, something I’ve experienced myself as I’ve helped multiple family members recover from heart attacks and strokes. Make sure you’re familiar with your family’s health history, so you can let your doctor and nurse know during an intake session. There’s no such thing as “TMI” when it comes to communicating with your clinicians—the information you share can only help them in providing you the best care.

Eliminate Stress When You Can

Just getting by day to day can be stressful for any of us, but it’s important to remember that addressing stress is not only good for your mental health—it can also impact your heart health by lowering your blood pressure. Just taking 60 seconds to close your eyes and breathe, or even slowly counting to 10, can help you de-stress.

Exercise at Your Own Pace

Even light physical activity done three to five days a week can help reduce your risk for stroke and heart disease. You don’t need a fancy gym membership, either—there are many free online tutorials for activities like yoga, and the benefit of doing physical activity at home is that you can take it at your own pace. A short walk around the neighborhood is another excellent way to get yourself moving, or you can even walk “laps” around the house. In addition, take the stairs or walk to the mailbox if you can.

Working towards preventing heart disease isn’t always easy, especially at the start. But integrating a few simple changes into your daily life can make a world of difference and lead to a much healthier future.

You Can Do It!

To learn more about home health care services and solutions at VNS Health, or to explore career opportunities, visit vnshealth.org or call 1-866-986-7691.

Comments / 0

Published by

Bronx Voice is the true voice of Bronx News. Online and in print Bronx Voice covers news and events taking place throughout the borough. Breaking News, crime, politics and health.the bronx news

Bronx, NY

More from BronxVoice

Comments / 0