The Importance of Healthy Heart Living
My diverse life experiences are ones that brought me to my greatest passion, medicine. I traveled to India for the first time in 2007 and the number of neglected populations deeply disturbed me. This is a country of 600,000 villages, each of them with factory-fouled air, a spiraling crime rate and grimy health conditions with no hospitals or doctors for miles. There is no preventative health education there, leaving countless people clueless on how to avert disease. I had never known of such horrific lifestyles and my passion to take corrective measures by treating others through health grew very strong. My visit to India inspired me to pursue a career in medicine. As an osteopathic physician, I knew I would practice the technique of manipulation to improve the body’s circulation, and master the principle of regarding the body as a whole instead of simply treating symptoms. This holistic approach intrigued me and after experiencing various family members pass away from coronary heart disease and heart attacks; diseases that are often entirely preventable, I soon realized the importance of maintaining a healthful well being.
Physicians provide the most direct and critical type of care, and only as a doctor can one take part in the first steps to knowledge and affecting humanity. Physicians can be part of educating an individual on lifestyle changes and healthy habits. There are many things an individual can do to promote a healthy heart, yet heart disease is the number one cause of death in both men and women in the United States. First of all, one should get their blood tested regularly to keep track of their cholesterol, triglyceride, and HDL/LDL levels. If they are high, a change in diet is warranted. Patients can also be tested for a high homocysteine level which is a protein that plays a large role in heart disease. Following a healthy heart diet is also very important. Individuals should eat as little refined sugar and trans fat as possible as this type of fat clogs up your arteries and causes less blood to travel back to the heart. There are also many supplements such as CoQ10, folic acid, fish oil and vitamins that help the heart to function easier and more effectively. In addition, exercising is one of the most imperative measures one can take on maintaining heart health. It has been proven in various studies that exercising 30-40 minutes daily reduces the incidence of heart attacks by a significant amount. Smoking cessation and alcohol cessation are also two of the most important lifestyle changes one can make on healthy heart living. They both cause heart disease by two different mechanisms. And lastly, if in addition to all these healthy behaviors, an individual still has heart disease, there are many medications out there that will help a diseased heart function better.
My greatest motivation to become a physician was knowing that I will be able to help others in their most critical times of need, to be able to educate them on understanding their bodies function, and to show them the importance of helping the body heal itself. After three individuals in my family passed away from heart disease, I took it upon myself to educate those members of my family I knew were at higher risk of developing this disease. I made sure they took the measures to change their lifestyle and diet, and had their blood levels checked regularly. Seeing my loved ones pass away from a disease that was in their situations entirely preventable, devastated me, and I became more of an advocate for preventative healthcare. After going through medical school I feel confident in my ability to educate others and privileged to have been given this opportunity to make lasting changes in many individuals.