Dr. Michael Couser is currently a second year Family Medicine resident at the Washington Health System. He was born and raised in Rostraver, PA. After graduating from Belle Vernon Area High School, he attended Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry. He then received his medical degree from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine at Seton Hill. When he isn’t studying, he enjoys spending time with friends and family (including his cats Zoe and Leo), playing board games, and going camping.
American Heart Month!
Cardiovascular disease is the number 1 cause of death in the US. With February being designated as American Heart Month, it’s a good time to talk about your heart’s health! One key element in a healthy heart is having good control of your blood pressure. Did you know that about half of all adults in the US have high blood pressure, or hypertension? Of those, only a quarter have their blood pressure under control. Let’s take a moment and talk about how you can keep your blood pressure, and your heart, healthy. Here are three areas we can focus on to improve our heart heath:
- Healthy foods. One key way to keep your heart healthy is by being smart with the food you eat. Limit foods that are high in salt and fat. Alcohol use can also contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease. Focusing on healthier foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats can greatly improve your cardiovascular health. It will also help you achieve a healthy weight, which is essential for good blood pressure and heart health!
- Physical activity. A huge factor in keeping your heart in good shape is exercise. Adults should have about about two to three hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, such as riding a bike or going for a brisk walk. Children should have at least an hour per day. Not only will this help you to be in good physical shape, it will also help your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking drastically increases your risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. If you smoke, there are ways to help you quit. Many people have tried to quit but were unsuccessful. If you don’t smoke, don’t start! If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about ways you can achieve this goal. Your heart, and lungs, will thank you!
These three areas can drastically improve your overall health and wellbeing, especially your heart. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about planning a healthy diet and a healthy weight, achieving exercise goals, and ways to quit smoking. Your family doctor can help answer questions you have about your heart’s health, and ways to improve it. And if these lifestyle areas above aren’t enough, your doctor can recommend medications to keep your blood pressure and your heart healthy. At the Washington Health System, our Primary Care Physicians and Cardiologists are ready to help you achieve your heart health goals. Happy Heart Month!