Keeping your heart healthy

By Timothy Damron, MD - Cardiologist, Pleasant Valley Hospital



Heart disease isn’t a problem reserved for Americans 55 and older. According to the CDC, it’s the leading cause of deaths in the United States, and one in four Americans die each year from heart-related issues. That’s why knowing the signs of heart problems and taking steps to keep your heart young and healthy is so important.

Keeping your heart healthy begins with maintaining good cardiovascular health. For starters, it’s important to maintain a regular exercise regimen. Don’t think you have to run long distances to get your heart pumping, either. Taking the dog for a walk, swimming, and finding aerobics or yoga classes at Pleasant Valley Hospital’s (PVH) Wellness Center are great places to start getting your health in check.

Next, make sure you’re eating a diet filled with good forms of fats, lean meats and lots of veggies. Avoid junk food whenever possible. If you’re a smoker, it’s time to stop. Plus, you should try to avoid stress or find ways to lower your stress levels through breathing techniques or yoga.

Most importantly, treat any conditions that could increase your risk of heart-related problems. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and obesity are all linked to heart problems.

Keep in mind that it’s never too late to change your lifestyle. PVH has the resources to help you make those lifestyle changes. Those changes in exercise, diet, stress, and losing weight can greatly improve your quality of life. We always recommend that you talk to your doctor before you start, just to make sure you’re kicking off your new lifestyle in the best way possible.

We also want you to recognize the symptoms if you, a friend, or loved one is having a heart attack. Most people are aware that pain in the chest is a clear sign. However, pain in the neck or back, weakness, nausea, and cold sweats can also be indicators. In addition, watch for pain in the arms or shoulders and shortness of breath. If you are having any of these symptoms, make sure to call 9-1-1 immediately.

Our hope is that you won’t have the need to see a cardiologist. But if you do, rest assured that PVH Cardiology provides comprehensive cardiac care and treatment for patients who are both young and young at heart. In addition to cutting-edge tools at PVH, we also have streamlined access to a state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab at Cabell Huntington Hospital and can offer a full range of resources and specialists at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. We offer cardiac rehabilitation that includes everything from

nutritional counseling to educational programs to closely monitored exercise programs so we can focus on ensuring long-term health.

To learn more or to see how PVH Cardiology can help your cardiovascular needs, call 304-675-1484.


By Timothy Damron, MD

Cardiologist, Pleasant Valley Hospital