Healthy holiday habits

Written by Contributor. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on December 14, 2011 with No Comments

Temperatures are dropping and the holidays have arrived.

Danger – we have officially entered what is often referred to as “The Heart Attack Season.”

“In addition to the cold weather restricting our blood circulation, most of us do things during the holidays that are very hazardous to our health, especially if we’re in poor shape to begin with,” said Dr. Debra Braverman, a specialist in rehabilitative medicine in the cardiology department at The Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philsdelphia.

Dr. Braverman says heavy meals, excess alcohol and lack of exercise all can contribute to heart health problems. Combine the stresses of holiday travel, visits from relatives and a disrupted medication schedule and it’s not surprising heart-related deaths increase by 5 percent at this time of the year, according to studies.

Dr. Braverman provides recommendations for protecting heart health during this winter’s heart attack season: 

Beware of fatty foods and large portions: Stay away from foods high in-sugar, fat, cholesterol and salt and make sure your holiday dinner table consists of lots of veggies, fruits, lean protein and whole grains. 

Exercise: Try 30 minutes of light exercise per day to help strengthen the heart by delivering more oxygen to the body. Exercise also lowers blood pressure and helps decrease cholesterol levels.   

Stop smoking: Replace your smoking routine with the 30-minute exercise session, which will help distract you and get your mind off smoking. Exercise is also a great way to combat stress, which can often trigger nicotine cravings. 

 Avoid the obvious holiday heart attack triggers: Excess physical exertion (i.e. shoveling snow), overeating, lack of sleep, emotional stress, cold temperatures, illegal drugs and alcohol

Talk to your doctor: For those diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, stay regular with your medications and ask your doctor about a new non-invasive treatment to improve circulation and overall heart health called EECP.  

Dr. Braverman has successfully helped thousands of heart patients using the non-invasive therapy called EECP (External Enhanced Counterpulsation). Over 160 peer-reviewed publications have shown EECP to be an effective and painless treatment for reducing or eliminating chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. The new therapy also improves the ability to engage in physical activity, blood flow and quality of life.

  Dr. Braverman is a graduate of Cornell University Medical College and is board-certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She is Director of EECP in the Division of Cardiology at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. She is the founder of Braverman Heart Centers and the author of “Heal Your Heart with EECP.”  

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