How to Stay Heart Healthy during the Holidays!
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How to Stay Heart Healthy during the Holidays!

December 5, 2019

– The holidays are not
traditionally a time to think about heart
health but did you know that people with heart
failure are more likely to be hospitalized during
the cold winter months? We’ve got some helpful
tips and our next guest Nancy, shares what it’s like
to live with heart failure. (calm music) – My name is Nancy and I’m 60 years old. (cymbals clashing) Two years ago, while on vacation, I began to not feel like myself. It was unsettling. When
I got home, I couldn’t climb the stairs without
being short of breath. I knew I shouldn’t ignore it but, I decided I would wait two weeks to see if my symptoms persisted
before going to a doctor. (ambulance siren) Unfortunately before
those two weeks were up, I was hospitalized and diagnosed with heart failure with
reduced ejection fraction. I was surprised, since I’ve
never been hospitalized, except to have my children,
and I rarely took medications. I was also told I might need
a defibrillator implanted if my condition did not improve. – [Host] Nancy joins us,
along with cardiologist, Dr. Richard Wright.
Welcome to both of you. Nancy especially you,
thanks for being here. How is your health now Nancy? – Well fortunately I haven’t
been hospitalized since, and I no longer need a defibrillator. – So Nancy, what helped
you to get to the point where you’re at right now? – I worked with my healthcare
team to find a management plan that works for me. I take my medication. I eat a heart-healthy diet
and I get physical activity. – Heart failure, it’s a
chronic, progressive condition. The heart is unable to
pump enough blood to meet your bodies needs for blood and oxygen. So Dr., I want to ask you,
you were here before to talk about this, but tell
us why it’s especially important during the holiday season and in particular these cold winter months? – This is a critical time
for heart failure patients to proactively manage their condition. Not only because this is flu
season, which can be dangerous for people with heart failure,
but also because cold weather can put extra strain on your heart. – When we’re cold, blood vessels
constrict to keep in heat. The heart also starts beating
faster, which can increase blood pressure. As a result,
it has to work harder. – Heart failure symptoms
may include things like swelling of the legs
and feet, and/or ankles. And also be aware of sudden
or severe shortness of breath, like Nancy mentioned she had had. – And heart failure is one
of the most common causes of hospitalization nationwide.
Dr. Wright I want to ask you, how often does it occur? – We’re looking at approximately
nine hundred thousand hospitalizations each year.
Which is nearly two every minute and it happens when the
heart can no longer keep up, causing symptoms to
worsen. After treatment and release from the hospital,
many with heart failure, end up going back. About 1 in
4 patients go back within a month, and about 1 in 2 within a year. In the first 30 days
following hospitalization, up to 10 percent of
patients are likely to die. – Here’s three ways people
living with heart failure can lessen their risk of hospitalization. Number one, make sure you
maintain a heart-healthy, balanced diet. Moderation
is so important, especially during the holiday season! And be aware that a lot of holiday
meals can be high in sodium. Number two, if you’re on
medications, make sure you continue to take them as prescribed. Don’t consider the holidays as a time to take a break on your medications. And finally, number three,
make sure to keep warm because wearing a few thin layers
of clothing can keep you warmer than just one thick layer. – And Nancy, what would you
like to say to other people working to manage their heart failure? – Treatment impacts
everybody differently, but it’s important to stay positive. (audience claps) – [Host] Great advice, and Dr. Wright, what do you tell your patients? – Well you know, the holidays
can be a busy time, but prioritize your health,
because heart failure does not take a holiday. If you’re gonna travel, pack your medications first, and take enough for an extra couple of days. And if you’re having
increasing difficulty with normal, everyday activities,
talk to your doctor right away. You can also go to for additional information about heart failure
during these colder months. – Great tips. Nancy, best of luck to you. Thanks so much for being here. Dr. Wright, thank you as well.

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  1. I'm not even 30 yet and I feel chest pain often.. and I am short of breath very often.. I need to make some changes.😢 This video scared me but sometimes it is good to be scared. It can save your life. Thanks for uploading this information.

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