RWJUH-Somerset Physician Answers Questions About Heart Health

Your heart affects each and every other part of your body and deserves your time and attention.

There is no better time to take charge of your heart health than now. Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States and is responsible for one out of every three deaths. About half of all Americans possess at least one major risk factor that could potentially lead to heart disease.

Unfortunately, many are unable to recognize and act on the warning signs in a timely manner. This year, take the time to familiarize yourself with common risk factors associated with heart disease and heart-healthy habits that can combat it.

Below is a list of some of the most important questions someone can ask about heart health to improve their overall health and potentially save their own life.

What are some of the main risk factors of heart disease?

Age, gender and genetics can all impact someone’s risk of heart disease. While these factors cannot be controlled, there are many others that can be. High blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity, smoking and high cholesterol all put a person at a higher risk for heart disease. While not always easy, making important lifestyle changes can greatly improve heart health.

What are the warning signs of heart disease?

While some warning signs of heart disease are obvious and others are much more discrete, it is important to try preventing heart disease before warning signs become noticeable.

One of the most apparent signs of heart disease is chest pain. This includes pressure, squeezing or pain in the upper chest, back or lower abdomen. People with heart disease often mistake these pains for indigestion or heartburn.

Other indications of heart disease include rapid or irregular heartbeats, reoccurring dizziness, persistent nausea and vomiting, swelling in the ankles, feet, legs and abdomen and wheezing and shortness of breath in regular activities, such as walking up stairs or while going about a morning routine.

When your day-to-day life becomes compromised, it may be time to speak to a cardiologist about heart disease.

How can I make sure I keep my heart healthy?

There are many ways to maintain your heart health every day. Reducing sodium intake in your diet and avoiding cigarette smoke are common ways to improve heart health.

The most popular method is through integrating exercise or physical activity into your daily routine. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of exercise five days per week, yet one in every three adults in America admits that they do not participate in physical activity.

Traditional methods of exercise do not suit everyone, so it is important to find what works best for you. Hiking, jogging, lifting weights and practicing yoga can help strengthen the heart.

Another way to maintain a healthy heart is through practicing healthy stress coping. Continued stress can have a significant negative impact on one’s heart. Everyone copes with stress differently, so finding a healthy outlet is important.

Listening to music or starting a new hobby can help decrease one’s stress level and improve heart heath.

Remember to schedule regular appointments with your physician to stay on top of your heart health and to monitor for any potential problems. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the common risk factors or warning signs associated with heart disease, visit a cardiologist.

Start making heart health a priority now by making the changes necessary to keep your heart healthy, and live a longer life.

For more information about cardiac care Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, visit

See this article from Dr Kulkarni on TAPinto here.