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How Cigarette Smoking Impacts your Cardiovascular Health

October 5, 2017

BLOG POST 10.5.17We all know that smoking causes devastating effects to your health. However, nearly 40 million people in the United States still smoke on a regular basis. Even smoking just a few cigarettes a day can have a tremendous impact on your body – specifically, your cardiovascular system. Continue reading “How Cigarette Smoking Impacts your Cardiovascular Health” »

Cholesterol Education

September 28, 2017

CHOLESTEROL EDUCATION 9.28.17By Lauren Dimitrov, RDN, MPH, LDN

Did you know that September is National Cholesterol Education Month? It’s important to maintain your cholesterol levels because high cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attack. Thankfully, with the help of your physician or registered dietitian, your diet and other lifestyle changes can help you reach and maintain your cholesterol goals.

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in your body and in many foods. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Our body naturally produces plenty of cholesterol, but many foods also contain it.

There are two kinds of cholesterol that travel through your bloodstream: LDL and HDL. LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol because too much can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. HDL is known as “good” cholesterol because it works in unison with your liver to remove excess cholesterol from your body.

There are several lifestyle choices you can make to maintain healthy cholesterol levels:

Eat heart healthy foods

  • Incorporate healthy fats, leaner meats, low-fat dairy, and monounsaturated fats – found in olive and canola oils – into your diet.
  • Eliminate trans-fats, which increase LDL and lower HDL, from your diet. Trans-fats are common in processed foods and labeled as “partially-hydrogenated oils.” Look for this term on the ingredient’s list of products.
  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, walnuts, almonds, and flaxseed as these decrease triglycerides and reduce blood pressure.
  • Increase the amount of high fiber foods in your diet, such as oats, fruits, and vegetables, which helps lower LDL levels.

Exercise and be physically active most days of the week

  • Exercise improves cholesterol by raising your HDL levels. Exercising for just 10 minutes several times per day can help improve your cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you smoke – quit! Within just 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Within one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker.

Sometimes healthy lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower cholesterol levels. If your doctor recommends medication to lower your cholesterol, take it as prescribed, but continue with your lifestyle changes. Everything you do to improve your health matters!

Raising Awareness for Peripheral Artery Disease

September 14, 2017

PAD AWARENESS BLOG 9.14.17-1September is Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) awareness month! PAD is a cardiovascular condition characterized by narrowing of the peripheral arteries, which results in poor blood flow to the extremities. While PAD can affect the arteries of the head, arms, and stomach, the disease is most prevalent in the legs and can cause symptoms such as leg cramps, leg pain, and fatigue when walking. Continue reading “Raising Awareness for Peripheral Artery Disease” »

Stress & Heart Health: The Connection

August 17, 2017

HEART BLOG 8.17.17Stress is an inevitable aspect of life. Whether it’s the stress of meeting deadlines at work or school, managing your finances, or juggling multiple obligations between family and friends, stress is something that is part of our daily lives.  Not only can stress leave you feeling mentally exhausted, it can also produce very real physiologic symptoms that may affect your heart. Continue reading “Stress & Heart Health: The Connection” »

How to Have a Healthy Summer

July 21, 2017

blogWith summer in full swing it’s more important than ever to maintain your health during these hot summer days! Whether you are taking a vacation, staying at home, or enjoying a day at the beach, these tips will help you stay happy and healthy this summer:

  • Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is essential in helping your heart pump blood efficiently throughout your body. While a tall glass of water is the most direct way to keep your body hydrated, there are other sources of water that can be found in variety of foods such as watermelon, cantaloupe, oranges, and cucumbers.
  • Wear sunscreen. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, sunscreen can help prevent your risk of developing skin cancer during your lifetime. The AAD recommends using a broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin.
  • Wear sunglasses. Although you may not realize it, the sun’s damaging rays can affect your eyes just like they affect your skin increasing your risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration (or vision loss), and even eyelid cancer.
  • Beat heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when your body’s temperature reaches 104°F or more, which can cause brain, heart, and kidney damage if not treated promptly. Symptoms of heat stroke include nausea, vomiting, headache, and tachycardia. Beat the heat this summer by avoiding intense outdoor activities between noon and 3:00pm when the sun is at its hottest.
  • Make a healthy summer treat. Rather than reaching for an ice cream cone, which can be full of empty calories, try making your own fresh fruit pops for a sweet treat that’s also good for you. Simply mash up some of your favorite fruit in a cup (such as strawberries, mangoes, or watermelon) and freeze overnight with a popsicle stick in the middle. The next day you’ll have a healthy sweet treat to enjoy!

Americans Forgoing Healthcare Due to Costs

July 13, 2017

iStock Healthcare Costs - font 2 blogEveryone wants to stay happy and healthy. However, rising healthcare costs may deter patients from seeking the care they need. According to a survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, 25% of Americans have neglected their medical care, or know someone who has, due to the costs. Furthermore, the same study found that 56% of Americans worry that they may not be able to afford quality healthcare.  Continue reading “Americans Forgoing Healthcare Due to Costs” »

See What Our Patients Are Saying: FCCI Testimonials

September 30, 2015

What Our Patients Are Saying About FCCIAt First Coast Cardiovascular Institute, nothing is more important than our patients’ health and quality of life. We support and advocate for you every single day, and our ultimate goal is to make your life better with outstanding cardiovascular care. That’s why it’s great to hear success stories from patients we’ve treated! Read and watch testimonials from our patients below:

Joyce was considered a high risk PAD patient until she visited FCCI. Learn more about Peripheral Artery Disease here.
“I call Dr. Khatib a miracle worker. I couldn’t ask for a better doctor, a better procedure or better results. I was considered high risk. I was going to tell the doctor I wasn’t going to have the surgery because the outlook wasn’t that great…[Dr. Khatib] said would you like to have a procedure here and take care of this where you go in as an outpatient? I couldn’t believe it…My main thing was I wanted to be able to get to walk on the beach with my husband. We’ve done that now. It’s like my problems of PAD had never happened. It feels that good.”

-Joyce, patient of Dr. Yazan Khatib

Continue reading “See What Our Patients Are Saying: FCCI Testimonials” »

Dr. Khatib’s Advice for Patients: Get Involved In Your Cardio Health

August 26, 2015

Get Involved in HealthcareIt’s a common scenario: you have a mental list of questions or concerns to bring up at your next doctor’s appointment, but once you’re in the examination room, your mind goes blank. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone – many patients forget what’s on their mind or find that they have even more questions once they get home. With just a little advance preparation, you can make the most of your next doctor’s visit and make a big impact on your overall health – a 2013 study published in Health Affairs Magazine found that patients who are actively involved in their healthcare have average costs that are 8 – 21% lower than those who are not. Below, Dr. Khatib shares his tips to help patients take an active role in their cardiovascular health:

Continue reading “Dr. Khatib’s Advice for Patients: Get Involved In Your Cardio Health” »

Back to School: Screenings To Get Your Child Ready for Fall Sports

August 11, 2015

The first day of school is just around the corner, which means many student athletes will be starting practice for sports such as football or cross country. But training too hard in the Florida heat can be dangerous. In this interview with First Coast Living, Dr. Moussa discusses the potential symptoms of heart problems and how you can get your athlete screened before school starts.

If your child is experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting during exercise, or if you have a family history of high blood pressure or heart disease, call our office at 904-493-3333 to book an EKG and an echocardiogram. Even if your child is not experiencing these symptoms, make sure to get a physical exam done before starting any vigorous exercise or sports team.

Guest Post from Nourish Juice Cafe: Juicing vs. Blending

July 7, 2015

Fresh fruits and vegetables can play an important role in keeping your heart healthy. This summer, we are excited to introduce Kathleen from Nourish Juice Cafe as a guest blogger. Kathleen will be sharing her best tips on juicing, maintaining a healthy diet, and more.

Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of managing conditions such as obesity, hypertension, or high cholesterol. Juicing and blending can be part of any health and wellness program but don’t get the two confused – each comes with their own unique health benefits. How much do you know about these trends?

Nourish Juice Cafe

Photo credit: Amanda Gibson

Continue reading “Guest Post from Nourish Juice Cafe: Juicing vs. Blending” »

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