Do you smoke? Perhaps you don’t smoke in a filthy expensive all-day way that stinks up your curtains and poisons the air in your home. Yet you may have a fine cigar on occasion after a great meal. Or you may smoke on Friday night when you’re out with friends. If you smoke at all, or if you have a job that exposes you to other people’s smoking, you should tell your cardiologist. Any exposure to smoke can harm your heart, and that goes for wood smoke and herbal smoke too.
Are you in a difficult relationship? Stress in small doses, like exercise or an exciting relationship, is good for you. It tunes your immune system and enlivens your life. Major stress and continuing strain, however, can kill. Your doctor should know if you are stressed by your partner’s need for continual care, or if the two of you consistently do not get along. Relationship problems are not good for either of you.
Do you work too many hours? Work stress can be harmful to your heart even if you love your work. Your body still requires decompression time. If you dislike your job but cannot yet leave it, the stress it produces is even worse for your body. Tell your doctor if you have work stress, and ask about ways to relieve it.
Do you spend too much time sitting? Recent research from the American Cancer Society, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found a correlation between the number of hours subjects spent sitting and their risk of death, even in people who were otherwise healthy and active. If your work or lifestyle requires you to sit all day, tell your doctor.
Do your feet hurt? If your feet hurt, or your back aches when you walk for a while, or the neighborhood where you live is not conducive to exercise, tell your doctor. Whatever is keeping you from exercising can be managed so you can keep your body in shape and reduce stress. There are even exercises for those who cannot walk, like the PBS program Sit and be Fit, so that almost anyone can reduce stress and keep their heart happy with exercise. Whatever is keeping you sedentary, tell your cardiologist.
Your cardiologist is interested in anything that affects heart health, and that means almost anything that affects you. Tell your cardiologist about anything from your past or present that might affect your heart, so he or she can help you.