West Valley Medical Center - February 04, 2016

Do you know which organ is the body's strongest? How about which muscle does the most work over the course of a lifetime?

If you guessed the heart, you are correct.

Tipping the scale at a mere 11 ounces (on average), this little muscle has got some serious work cut out for itself. Typically, a healthy heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels, and that's just in one day.

Talk about going the distance; that's one strong little organ!

Of any muscle or organ in the body, the heart performs the largest amount of physical work in the course of a human's life. However, we know that sometimes your heart may need a little extra help, and we're ready to care for your heart. The American Heart Association recognizes West Valley Medical Center for achieving 85% or higher adherence to their Get with the Guidelines® standard of care for heart failure. Our Caldwell hospital's participation in this program demonstrates our commitment to quality care and we're proud to be a part of the American Heart Association's efforts to turn guidelines into lifelines. Yet, we still want you to do your part to keep that heart of yours working. Follow these five tips for a healthy heart:

  1. Eat Right- Maintain a well balanced diet for optimal cardiovascular health. Incorporate whole grains, veggies, fruit, and lean meats such as chicken, turkey and fish into your diet. Select foods that are low in fat and sodium, high in fiber, and rich in antioxidants. Check out these heart healthy foods to get started.
  2. Be Active- A sedentary lifestyle is one of the key factors in developing heart disease, so get moving! As recommended by the American Heart Association, just 30 minutes of moderate exercise five or more days per week can do wonders for your heart, not to mention the rest of your body. Cardio workouts are best for your heart as they aid in weight management and strengthening the heart muscle.
  3. Refrain from Smoking and Drinking- Smoking is bad for your entire body, but it's especially bad for your heart. Smoking weakens the blood vessels and lowers good cholesterol levels; therefore, your heart has to work harder to pump blood. If you smoke, we strongly encourage you to quit. Drinking heavily can also negatively affect your heart, so be conservative with youralcohol consumption.
  4. Control Cholesterol and Blood Pressure- Cholesterol isn't necessarily bad there are good types of cholesterol. However, having high levels of the “bad” (LDL) cholesterol is one of the direct risk factors for heart disease. High blood pressure also contributes to heart disease. Both are directly related to developing a heart condition, or experiencing a heart attack.
  5. Visit Your Doctor Regularly- Make it a priority to schedule regular doctor's appointments. According to the CDC, “nearly half of all sudden cardiac deaths happen outside a hospital, which suggests that many people are unaware of the early warning signs of heart disease.” Standard checkups can help detect many of the risk factors for heart disease. Once detected, your doctor will be able to suggest medication and lifestyle changes to get your heart on a path to better health. Our Treasure Valley hospital is happy to help find a physician if needed.

So while your heart is doing its part to keep you healthy, are you doing yours? Take our free online heart health risk assessment by visiting this link. If you think that you're experiencing a heart emergency, don't wait tell the ambulance to take you to West Valley Medical Center.