By Scott D. Miller, MD
As Valentine’s Day approaches, it seems appropriate to talk about our hearts. How did the heart become associated with love? In ancient days, the heart was considered to be the center of all emotions since it is located in the center of the chest. The heart’s association with love was perpetuated by its response to affection—an increase in speed and gusto of each beat.
For many men, love can be the biggest motivation to keep that heart healthy. After all, healthy dietary and lifestyle choices keep us looking good and performing well. Because time is our most valuable commodity, we are always looking for better and more efficient ways to achieve these goals. In a world of social media and full email inboxes, we struggle to reclaim that lost time. However, we often leave the most important “time-saver” on the table—an investment in our longevity.
Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, your best investment of time is knowing and reducing your risks of future problems. As it turns out, you can actually calculate this future risk based on your age, gender, smoking status, cholesterol level, HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol), blood pressure, use of blood pressure medications, and history of diabetes. You can find these calculators simply by searching the web for “heart risk calculator.” More importantly, you should visit your primary care physician annually for monitoring and guidance on how to reduce your risks of suffering from a future cardiovascular event.
The value of regular visits to your physician goes far beyond the measurable. These face-to-face encounters serve as reminders to tighten up our dietary and exercise routines. Also, we often tend to overestimate our level of health in the absence of symptoms. Monitoring our numbers on a regular basis is the best way to squash these “silent killers.”
If you had a tool to reliably predict the stock market, you would certainly use it. Similarly, you should take advantage of the most important prophetic and scientifically-backed information that will literally buy you time. So, if you want to give your loved ones the best gift of love, do your best to keep that heart beating for many years to come. Be your best self.
Look for my article on “Spring Cleaning” in the next issue.
Scott D. Miller, MD, is the Medical Director of Robotic Surgery at WellStar North Fulton Hospital. He is a urologist with WellStar Urology in Roswell and has practiced in Atlanta for over 20 years. WellStar North Fulton Hospital offers the Know Your Heart Screening that can determine your risk of heart disease, stroke and other serious conditions. Call (770) 956-STAR (7827) to learn more or schedule an appointment.
Scott D. Miller, MD WellStar North Fulton Hospital • (470) 956-4230 • ScottDMillerMD.com