- Modest but consistent physical activity such as a 30 minute walk at least 5 days a week raises good HDL cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, improves glucose metabolism, boosts the immune system and lowers overall mortality rates 30%. If we have discussed moderately vigorous physical activity in the office, such as bicycling, then 3 times weekly has been shown to achieve these benefits; again, consistency is the key.
- Be aware that caffeine consumption in a 24 hour period has a cumulative effect so if you drink 2 mugs of coffee then an iced tea in the afternoon and a caffeinated soda or energy drink all adds up. Green tea is less potent than black tea. Coffee can be brewed half decaffeinated to start. Sodas in general are a bad choice for multiple reasons.
- Avoid allergy/cold preparations that contain the decongestants phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine.They are stimulants that add little to alleviate upper airway congestion but wreak havoc on patients with hypertension, putting cardiac patients at undue risk. The other "cold/allergy formula" ingredients (guanefisin, dextromethorphan, antihistamines) do not have the stimulant effect.
- Tobacco vasoconstricts the blood vessels, raising the blood pressure, putting cardiac patients at increased risk. Longer term, tobacco accelerates atherosclerotic vascular damage. If you need help substituting a need that tobacco is filling such as lessening chronic anxiety symptoms, for example, please bring that to my attention at our next meeting.