Avoiding Heartburn | Canton, OH

Heartburn affects millions of Americans every year. Spicy, rich foods, overindulging in alcohol, and even our favorite morning cup of java can set off what feels like a 3 alarm fire in your chest. Sensible eating and lifestyle choices can assist in avoiding heartburn or eliminating it altogether. There is no need to give up your favorite foods. Moderation and awareness are the keys to eating heartburn-free. Discovering your Triggers Many foods are known to cause heartburn. Rich, fatty foods and heavy meals are triggers for most people. Others may discover that, in spite of the folk wisdom of a peppermint “calming” the stomach, mint is a trigger. Carbonated sodas are another common culprit. Some, however, may find that a few foods commonly related to heartburn have no effect on them, while normally-“safe” foods ignite a blaze. Consider keeping a food diary to track the foods that trigger episodes. By tracking your intake and episodes, you can pinpoint foods which trigger heartburn. Avoiding Heartburn: Common Culprits The “trigger foods” are different for everyone, but there are certain foods which commonly cause heartburn in most individuals: Coffee Chocolate Alcohol Carbonated drinks Rich, heavy, or fatty foods Spicy foods Citrus Grains While it’s not reasonable or even possible to avoid all of the foods which may trigger heartburn, you can choose options that are less likely to trigger heartburn and enjoy foods in moderation, reducing the risk of an episode. Portion Sizes Matter Even the blandest foods can trigger heartburn if you over indulge. Choose smaller meals, and eat more frequently throughout the day. This not only allows your body to digest...

How Exercise Promotes Heart Health

Your diet is key to improving and maintaining heart health, but exercise also plays an important role. Your doctor can help you create and maintain a set of fitness goals based on your medical history, lifestyle, personal desires and abilities. Most exercise programs are flexible enough for every participant. You may need to start out slowly, walking for example, rather than jogging, but the best way to begin is by starting slowly and working your way up to more strenuous activities. Exercise Goals You should be aiming for about 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days a week. If you’re not able to sustain that level of activity, then do what you are able and work up to your goal. Stretching and warming up are important parts of the exercise routine. The point of aerobic activity is to raise your heartrate for a sustained period. Types of Exercise Depending on your fitness level and abilities, there is a fitness option for everyone. Most people start by walking, and work up to jogging or running. If you have joint issues, however, you may wish to consider alternatives like yoga or swimming. Be sure to talk to your doctor about target heartrates during activity. You should be able to hold a conversation during your workout. If you can’t catch your breath, you could be pushing your body too hard. Avoid Fitness Ruts Alternating exercises is important to staving off boredom. There’s nothing worse than dreading your workout because you’re doing the same old thing day in and day out. If walking or jogging don’t appeal to you, consider joining...

How to Prepare for Your Heart Surgery

Facing heart surgery can be a challenging experience. Good preparation not only maximizes your chances for a fast recovery, it helps to calm the nerves and provide you with a sense of control over what’s happening. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully for the best possible outcome from  your procedure. Cut out Nicotine and Alcohol Quit smoking, and avoid alcohol for at least two weeks before your surgery. Nicotine and alcohol both inhibit healing. Alcohol impairs the immune system, liver function, and natural blood coagulation. Nicotine reduces the amount of oxygen your blood is able to carry to the cells. Take Deep Breaths If your care team has given you a device called an incentive spirometer, use it and use it often. The device is designed to help you take slow, deep breaths, which improve lung function. Begin using the device as early as possible before your surgery, and use it as often as possible to reduce your chances of pneumonia and other post-surgical breathing problems. Visit Your Dentist If you have any cavities or other dental work that needs to be done, do it sooner rather than later. Discuss any dental work you’ll need to have done with your surgeon well ahead of time. Abscesses and infected teeth can create an infection in the heart’s lining, so your surgeon may require that you have any dental work completed before scheduling your heart surgery. Prepare the Family Finally, it may be helpful to have one family member who will act as an information relay for friends and family. Because of privacy concerns, your medical team will be unable to release...

Reducing High Blood Pressure – Canton, OH

Handling high blood pressure is a key component of managing heart disease. High blood pressure puts an extra strain on the heart. While medication and other medical interventions may be necessary to manage blood pressure, there are steps patients can take at home to reduce the risks and their dependence on medication. How to Reduce High Blood Pressure: Keeping Fit Diet and exercise are critical components of the overall heart health plan. Talk to your doctor about engaging in moderate aerobic exercise for 60-90 minutes each day. A solid fitness routine and a healthy nutritional plan will help support heart health and reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Along with a strong fitness plan, diet is important. Alcohol and excessive sodium should be avoided. Cholesterol should be checked regularly and managed to avoid putting strain on the heart. While high cholesterol isn’t always associated with high blood pressure, the two sometimes occur together. Put out the Cigarettes Smoking carries many obvious dangers. Each cigarette raises the blood pressure, and heavy or “chain” smokers tend to face a much higher incidence of dangerously high blood pressure. Just 20 minutes after finishing a cigarette, blood pressure drops to normal. The risk of heart disease is cut in half after just one year of quitting. Kicking the habit can add years to your life. Talk to your doctor about cessation techniques that may work for you. Limit Alcohol and Stress Alcohol intake and stress are both factors in high blood pressure. Ironically, a single glass of wine or beer per day can actually lower blood pressure. It’s excessive intake that causes...

How Weight Affects Heart Health- Canton, OH

Your body weight is influenced by the energy intake from food and the energy spent by physical activity. There are three typical ranges of body weight: underweight, healthy, and overweight. These three levels have different implications for your heart health. Heart Health If You Are Overweight If you are prone to fat around your midsection, you have a greater chance of developing fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Basically, even if you are not overweight, you may still be at an increased risk for heart disease based on the size of your waist. Here are some heart problems that overweight or wide-waisted individuals may experience: Coronary Heart Disease High cholesterol High blood pressure Heart rate irregularities Heart Health If You Are Underweight If you are underweight, your body weight is below the healthy weight for your age and height. It can be defined as a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5. Being underweight does not mean that you are healthy. If you are below weight for your height and age, you could be missing essential vitamins, minerals and other key nutrients. This can put you at risk for nutritional deficiencies and other problems such as anemia or heart rate abnormalities. The Heathy Range You are within healthy range if your weight is in proportion to your height. The appropriate way to find your healthy range is by using a weight – height chart or by calculating your Body Mass Index [BMI]. If you are a healthy weight, eat right, and exercise regularly, you will have less risk of developing heart disease. Dr. Ciuffo and the Minimally Invasive and Bloodless Heart Surgery Program Dr. Ciuffo is dedicated to...

5 Heart Healthy Tips- Canton, OH

Keeping your heart healthy is essential if you want prevent or lower your risk of heart disease. With small adjustments to your daily life, you can ensure that your heart and the rest of your body stays healthy. Here are 5 tips to keep your heart healthy: Avoid smoking and tobacco. Cigarettes and tobacco are some of the worst things for your body. In fact, smoking is one of the ways you can get heart disease. Tobacco contains certain chemicals that can cause your arteries to get smaller with all the plague building up inside them. This condition is called atherosclerosis and can cause other problems like heart attacks. Exercise. It’s recommended that you exercise for about half an hour for a majority of the days in the week. Maintaining a regular exercising schedule can do wonders for your risk of heart disease. When you exercise, you should work to get your heart pumping. It doesn’t have to be hard exercise, it just has to be something like walking the dog, doing some chores, or going on a bike ride to get yourself off the couch and moving around. Eat healthy. Diet is essential to maintaining a healthy heart. Lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat foods are a great place to start for food that keeps your risk of heart disease low.  Keep your weight at a healthy level. Excess weight can heighten your risk of heart disease. Not only does it make your heart work harder, but being overweight can also cause other problems like diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Get enough rest. Not...