Cardiologist, author, and heart health expert Dr. Sarah Samaan offers advice on how to live a heart smart life.See all posts »
Meet Dr. Sarah
In my medical training in the 1980s and early 90s, it was all about treating the heart attack. For a long time, I thrived on the adrenaline—jumping out of bed when the beeper went off at 2 a.m., the rush of excitement in the ER, the race down the hallway to the heart lab, IV poles jangling, and the (usually) happy outcome when the drama was done. Yet as I came to know my patients, and began to understand the risk factors behind their heart disease, it slowly dawned on me that the most important thing I could do was not to be by their side when they were in distress, but rather to help them prevent that situation from ever happening in the first place.
It was thanks to the insightful questioning and occasional skepticism of the patients who entrusted me with their care that I began to take a greater interest in heart disease prevention. As a doctor, I have a powerful arsenal of medications, and I’m not afraid to use them when appropriate. Many times, these modern marvels mean the difference between life and death. Perhaps even more importantly, good medical therapy can restore health and prevent severe disability. But what many of us, doctors and the general public alike, have not yet taken to heart is the powerful effect of lifestyle on heart health. Fully 70 percent of heart disease can be prevented by simple changes in diet and exercise, and by cultivating healthy habits and avoiding those that do us harm.
In my column for Healthline, I look forward to challenging you to make smarter choices, to live your life with more gusto, and to protect and nurture your own amazing, beating heart.
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