Medical expert gives tips on how to take control of heart health

Monthly Q&A: February is heart month; take control of your heart

As February is American Heart Month, it’s a time when the nation spotlights heart disease, the No. 1 killer of Americans.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, more than 800,000 people die of cardiovascular disease every year in the United States.

Dr. Rowland Reyna, founder of HealthTexas explains why it’s so important to take charge of your heart health and to focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Below are some key questions, answered.

1) What are the main risk factors for coronary artery disease?

“Probably the most important one is family history for early heart disease,” Reyna said. “If a person in your family had heart disease, get checked and treated. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and heart disease in San Antonio. If you’re diabetic, get your diabetes under control. For many people who lose weight, the diabetes will go away.”

Takeaway: If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol (lipids) or are a male over 60, you are more (susceptible) to have coronary artery disease. Cigarette smoking, obesity and living a sedentary lifestyle are also main risk factors, Reyna explained.

2) What are the natural ways of decreasing risk for coronary artery disease?

“The bottom line is that increased risk and diabetes and a sedentary lifestyle cause an inflammatory effect in the body. The inflammatory effect is what causes blockages of the arteries. Anything we can do to lower inflammation is what works. Exercising is probably the most important thing you can do. People who exercise actually lower their risk of heart disease and cancer and Alzheimer’s. Exercising 45 minutes four to five times a week is probably the most important thing. Supplements can be very effective. People who take Vitamin D3 lower the risk of heart disease.”

Takeaway: Exercise four to five times a week and talk to your doctor about taking vitamin supplements, especially Vitamin D3.

3) ‘I have a family history of heart disease and I have high blood pressure and cholesterol. Should I receive the COVID-19 vaccine?’

“Yes, the older that you are, the higher your weight, the presence of any lung disease (asthma or sleep apnea) or any disease process that affects your immune system, would put you at a much higher risk. The more people who get the vaccine, the more people who will develop ‘herd immunity,’ which would eventually cause the virus to ‘burn out,’ as the number of people who could be infected are low and it wouldn’t have anywhere else to go.”

Takeaway: Reyna encourages every adult to get the vaccine to stop the spread of the disease.

If you need a primary care doctor, HealthTexas has 17 locations to serve the San Antonio region, and the health group specializes in Medicare plans. All doctors are board-certified in internal medicine or family medicine. Watch the video above for more information about HealthTexas.