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Style Magazine

East Meets West

Dec 31, 2008 04:00PM ● By Super Admin

Jerry is a retired fireman in overall great physical condition for a man in his late fifties. He is active and dynamic, has no notable bad habits and he watches his food intake, yet in the beginning of November he was taken to the hospital with embolisms affecting the function of his heart.

As we grow older, maintaining and improving heart health is an ever-growing concern. Sedentary lifestyles in combination with poor eating habits contribute to premature physical decay, which the heart and circulatory systems are among the first to experience; but maintaining good heart health may not be difficult. Western science has a great deal of advice to offer those concerned about heart health, as does traditional Eastern medicine. Style talked to five health professionals from varying disciplines in order to gain some well-rounded insights on establishing and maintaining good heart health, and here is what they had to say.

Curtis Fowler, MPT, PA-C, works with the practice of Dr. Roy Greenberg in Folsom. His approach is that of Western medicine with a clean and scientific approach to heart health. Fowler sees a large number of patients with diabetes, hypertension and obesity. He says that, contrary to popular myth, Western medicine does not necessarily consider each system of the body in isolation.

“A one size fits all answer would have to start with diet,” says Fowler. He also says that, ideally, you want to maintain as close to your recommended weight as you possibly can. When you make food choices, try to go with foods that are low in saturated fats and that contain no trans-fats. Better yet, stick to olive oil. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Paint with your food – the more colors on your plate the better. Fiber is your friend, so when the option exists, grab the whole grain version of whatever you’re cooking. Eat fish twice a week, or if you don’t like fish, supplement with a fish oil capsule. Do not drink sodas or other beverages that are filled with empty calories. “Exercise is fundamental. Thirty minutes a day of walking is inexpensive, and it's easy on the joints,” explains Fowler. 

“Nationally, weight still continues to rise, with the expectation that over the next 10-15 years, upwards of 45 percent of Americans will be classified as obese,” states Fowler. And, Fowler’s opinions are not unusual in the medical industry. On November 11, 2008, New York Times printed the results of a study demonstrating that those who are overweight in their youth are demonstrably more prone to heart health problems in their 40s and 50s. By allowing our children to develop sedentary lifestyles and poor eating habits, we are, in effect, fating them to a high likelihood of heart disease and, potentially, shortened life spans.

Dr. Parhar of Parhar & Associates in Roseville counsels that “for a healthy heart one needs to make sure that blood pressure is well controlled, body weight is optimal, and absolutely no tobacco use.” Tobacco irreversibly damages the lining of the blood vessels. Parhar goes on to say that regular moderate exercise and yoga are beneficial for healthy blood vessels and stress reduction. 

Eastern medicine focuses on the overall health of the patient rather than the health of individual systems. It has gained the name “holistic” in western culture. Cindy Swan (nutrition and wellness coach) and Dr. Holthouse, both of the Center for Functional and Integrative Medicine say, “Eastern strategies have long focused on the impact of a person’s vitality, emotional health and spiritual wellness, as they relate to the development of disease.” They also note, “Western practitioners are becoming more aware of the need to move beyond prescription drugs, and address the patient’s lifestyle as the core cause of a vast amount of heart disease.”  We are a complex array of systems, all of which interact with and depend upon one another. True heart health, therefore, cannot be attained unless the patient is mentally and spiritually well. Dr. Lin Pan of Pan Acupuncture and Herb agrees, he emphasizes that heart health cannot be fully achieved unless the whole patient is taken into consideration.

For more Healthy Heart tips and resources, be sure to pick up this month's copy of Style-Roseville Granite Bay Rocklin edition. Check out the Distribution tab on this Web site for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email Gloria Schroeder at [email protected], or call her at 916-988-9888 x116