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February shines spotlight on heart health

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm •  Published: February 7, 2014

“Increasing fiber, especially soluble fiber, may be beneficial in lowering blood cholesterol. In the intestine, soluble fiber binds to bile acids that are produced from cholesterol, thereby helping to remove some cholesterol from the body,” said Winn. “It’s better to get fiber from foods that contain it naturally rather than from supplements.”

Winn said fruits and vegetables are also an important source of antioxidants, including betacarotene and vitamin C.

“In addition, many fruits, vegetables and whole grain products are a source of folate, which has a role in lowering homocysteine levels, another possible risk factor for heart disease,” said Winn.

The CDC offers a plan for the prevention of heart disease, which includes a healthy diet, weight control and exercise.

Officials also recommend limiting alcohol use, having blood pressure checked and cholesterol monitored regularly.

“Physical activity helps tremendously,” said Winn. “To maintain heart health, 150 minutes a week, or 30 minutes a day, five days a week, of moderate-intensity activity is good.”

For those who need extra help keeping their hearts in shape, a number of cutting-edge treatments and pharmaceuticals are available locally.

Tahlequah City Hospital has extensive cardiovascular services for its patients. Officials there were asked to contribute to this report, but were unable to provide comment by press time.

The five major symptoms of a heart attack include pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back; feeling weak, lightheaded or faint; chest pain or discomfort; pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder and shortness of breath.