In honor of Heart Health Month, explore five lesser-known facts about heart health at Next Health. Prioritize cardiovascular well-being. Read to learn more.
Oral health coined a “window to your overall health,” and for good reason.
Even though it may be unpleasant to think about, the mouth is full of bacteria. Most of these bacteria are harmless, but because the mouth is the entry point to the digestive system and respiratory tract, it has the potential to allow bacteria to cause disease or illness throughout the body.
Typically, the body’s natural defenses, along with adequate oral hygiene, keep bacteria levels under control. However, if there is a lack of oral care, an infection can not only occur in the mouth (likely in the form of tooth decay or gum disease), but also inflammation in other bodily systems.
Research shows that harmful levels of oral bacteria can be linked to inflammatory conditions such as diabetes as well as endocarditis, a condition where an infection compromises the inner lining of heart chambers and valves. Moreover, according to the Mayo Clinic, tooth loss patterns are connected to coronary artery disease (a form of heart disease).
In short, the connection between heart health and oral health is well-researched and a simple way to protect your heart is through proper oral care.
Throughout the history of western medicine, there was little recognition of how mental health can impact cardiovascular wellness until recently. There is a growing body of research cited by the Centers for Disease Control that shows that your mental health state is associated with increased risk factors for heart disease.
More specifically, people experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, and even PTSD exhibit an increase in cardiac reactivity (increased heart rate and blood pressure), a decrease in blood flow to the heart, and higher levels of cortisol (which can increase cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure). All of these factors can lead to a buildup of calcium in the arteries, heart disease, and metabolic disease.
This is just another reminder that mental and physical health are not two separate components, and it is important to give each the attention they deserve.
Although genetics are a component to health when it comes to any issue, they are just that: one piece of the whole picture. According to the CDC, “Genetic factors likely play some role in high blood pressure, heart disease, and other related conditions. However, it is also likely that people with a family history of heart disease share common environments and other factors that may increase their risk.
The risk for heart disease can increase even more when heredity combines with unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking cigarettes and eating an unhealthy diet.”
The truth is nearly half of Americans (47%) have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. Risk factors such as age and family history cannot be controlled, but by adjusting your lifestyle, you can take control of your heart health and enhance your quality of life.
Certain types of heart disease can be reversible! According to Dr. Lori Tam, medical director for the Women’s Heart Program at the Providence Heart Institute conditions such as coronary artery disease, where there is cholesterol plaque buildup in the heart’s arteries, healthy lifestyle changes can stabilize the condition, prevent additional plaque deposits and, in some cases, help reverse the severity of the disease.
It is also important to note that risk factors such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, high inflammation levels, and others can often be lowered with a proactive approach to cardiac wellness.
Next Health offers a Cardiac Wellness Test so you can test the health of your heart. As a comprehensive lipid evaluation, this test assesses your risk for heart disease and measures cardiac inflammation and hormonal markers.
For those looking to take a next-level, data-driven approach to health, consider our Total Wellness Package, which is the most detailed testing package available and can answer a variety of health-related questions. As a bloodwork panel of over 500 biomarkers, this package creates a holistic picture of your overall health, empowering you to understand your body like never before.
It is always easier to prevent a problem than solve one, especially with your health.
Designed with world-class testing and health optimization services, the Executive Physical elevates your patient experience by empowering you with the most in-depth picture of your health.
Unlike the traditional primary care physician, our medical providers don’t make decisions about your health without you. Our team takes a transparent approach and shares your data with you, giving you the most cutting-edge insights into living healthier and longer.
We have received incredible feedback as the Executive Physical has created life-saving opportunities and found conditions preemptively in many Next Health patients. 35% of Next Health Executive Physicals performed to date have resulted in the early detection of potentially life-threatening disease, including: aneurysms, tumors, liver and pancreatic cancer, and heart disease.
This proactive and comprehensive membership is the most effective investment available in not just how long you live, but how well you live.
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