Tag Archives: heart health

Guard Your Heart With the Love of A Dog

Dogs are affectionately called man’s best friend. But did you know their companionship also offers benefits for your heart health? Studies show a canine companion can help with everything from lowering blood pressure to reducing stress. That’s why Lexington Medical Center is hosting a “therapy dog stress break” where visitors and staff members can come to the hospital and spend time with furry friends on Valentine’s Day. The event is free and open to the public.

Community members are invited to the North Tower Atrium inside Lexington Medical Center from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 14 to shake off some stress by petting a dog. Lexington Medical Center clinicians will also be on hand to answer questions about how managing stress and finding relaxing activities can help our health. And, visitors can receive a free blood pressure screening.

According to the American Heart Association, pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, may help reduce a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease:
*Studies have found that pet owners have lower blood pressure and resting heart rates than people who do not have a pet, even when they had a similar body mass index (BMI) and socioeconomic profile.
*Research shows dog owners are more likely to be physically active than non-dog owners — tending to walk longer and more often.
*A study found that younger children whose families owned a dog were less likely to be overweight or obese compared with children in families without a dog.
*Additional research has found that pets lower stress and help heart patients live longer.

Each of the dogs participating in the event is a certified therapy dog that visits patients at Lexington Medical Center’s main campus in West Columbia and Extended Care, the hospital’s skilled nursing facility in Lexington. They are a popular and important part of Lexington Medical Center’s Volunteer Services department.

Wear Red Day

Did you remember to wear red today? Lexington Medical Center employees gathered to take a special photo today for Wear Red Day, a date designed to raise awareness that heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women in the United States.

Lexington Medical Center wants community members to “Just Say Know” to heart disease by learning their risk factors and talking to their doctors about ways to stay healthy.

Your goals should be:

Blood Pressure: Less than 120/80

Total Cholesterol: Less than 20

LDL Cholesterol (Bad Cholesterol): Less than 100 (Less than 70 if you have other risk factors)

HDL Cholesterol (Good Cholesterol): Greater than 60 is optimal. Less than 50 is a risk for women and less than 40 is a risk for men.

Triglycerides: Less than 150

Blood Glucose: Less than 100 (fasting value)

Body Mass Index (BMI): Less than 25

Daily Exercise: More than 30 minutes is ideal, but you should strive for at least 20 minutes.

Daily Relaxation: More than 30 minutes

Cigarettes Per Day: Zero (and no secondhand smoke)

For more information, visit LexMed.com/Know.

Under Pressure: Why High Blood Pressure Matters

Today marks the first day of American Heart Month. This year, Lexington Medical Center is focusing on high blood pressure. At least one in three South Carolinians has high blood pressure – and some don’t even know. In this WLTX interview, physician assistant Brittany Chestnut of Sandhills Family Medicine, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, talks about why knowing your blood pressure numbers is so important.

~Systolic is the top number of your blood pressure reading. That refers to the amount of pressure pushed against the arteries when the heart is pushing out blood during a heartbeat.

~Diastolic is the bottom number that measures pressure between heartbeats.

~Ideal blood pressure is under 120/80.

~It’s important for patients to monitor their blood pressure at home with an accurate cuff, decrease sodium and caffeine intake, exercise and maintain a healthy weight.

~In the long-term, high blood pressure causes arteries to become rigid and damaged. Over time, that impacts every artery and vessel in the body, which can impact every organ system.

~High blood pressure complications can include heart attacks, strokes, vision loss and even sexual dysfunction.

To take a high blood pressure quiz, visit LexMed.com/Know.