The Younger You Episode 27: Heart Health

Published 07/28 2014 02:32PM

Updated 09/16 2015 04:16PM

Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body... are you doing everything you can to take care of it?  Follow Dr. Joshua Redd of Red River Health and Wellness as he shows you what causes heart disease and what you can do to prevent it.

Approximately 600,000 people die of heart disease each year in the United States alone.  Heart health is something we all need to take more seriously.

Dr. Joshua Redd of Red River Health and Wellness takes viewers over the the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.  While there, he is talking to Dr. Kent Meredith about how the heart functions and how they repair it.

Dr. Meredith describes the heart as a "fancy muscle" designed to pump fluid, or blood, and circulate it through the body.  The heart is composed of 4 chambers and 4 valves.  Your valves allow the blood to flow in one direction in your veins.  The 2 valves that are associated with serious heart disease are the Mitral valve and the Aortic valve.  These valves are in charge of pumping the blood from the left side of the heart.

It's important to note that "heart failure" does not mean your heart has stopped.  It simply means that your heart is not able to pump blood in the way that it should.

When a child is born with a heart problem, it is called a congenital heart defect.  Nearly 1 in 100 babies born in the United States will be born with a heart defect.  It's more common for heart problems to develop in the elderly.  When heart surgery is required, surgeons will often use a tool known as a catheter.  This gets rid of the need for open-heart surgery.

Coronary artery disease is caused by plaque build-up in the arteries covering the surface of the heart.  In the past, a bypass surgery was used to correct this.  Bypass surgery involves taking a veins from another part of the body and replacing the blocked artery.  Nowadays, catheters are used to insert a coronary stent.  The stent is put in place by an inflated balloon.  

The number one cause of plaque in the heart is high blood pressure.  Some other causes are diabetes, high cholesterol and smoking.

After speaking with Dr. Meredith, Dr. Redd went and tested his heart health by undergoing a stress test.  He chose to do an exercise stress test, which involves running on a treadmill at increasing speeds while doctors monitor your heart rate.  Dr. Jeffrey Anderson performed Dr. Redd's stress test.  Dr. Anderson explains that this test is used for many reasons, including just testing your limits and blood flow.  Blood pressure is taken before, during and after the test.  

A more common type of stress test is a PET scan.  P.E.T. stands for positron emission tomography.  This is an imaging technique that produces a 3D image of the heart so doctors can check for diseases and blood flow.

Dr. Redd and Troy discuss the Dos and Don'ts of heart health.  First up, DON'T smoke of use tobacco.  The reason for this is that when smoking, carbon monoxide replaces some of the oxygen in your blood, which increases your blood pressure.

DO exercise for 30 minutes every day (or almost every day).  Physical exercise helps control your weight and can reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

DO eat a hearth healthy diet.  You want to be eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Beans and other low fat sources of protein can also reduce your risk of heart disease.  DON'T eat unhealthy foods.  Foods bad for your heart include those high in saturated and trans fats, such as red meat, dairy and deep-friend fast foods.  However, there are some healthy fats out there and those include avocado, nuts and olive oil.

DO avoid stress.  Stress can cause your heart health to take a big hit.

DON'T live near pollution.  Breathing in polluted air can contribute to atherosclerosis, which is a hardening of the arteries.  Researchers estimate that getting rid of smoggy air could prevent nearly 8,000 heart failure hospitalizations each year. 

Contact Info for our guests:

Dr. Joshua Redd

Red River Health and Wellness

10965 South River Front Parkway

South Jordan, UT 84095



Dr. Kent Meredith

Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute

5121 S. Cottomwood Street

Murray, UT 84107


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