Walking the walk on heart disease

Heart walk
Heart walk against heart disease

For many people, heart disease is like the weather: They talk about it but don’t do anything about it.

Heart walks are one way we can all take action.

When walkers set out on Sept. 12 from the base of Reunion Tower for the 2015 Dallas Heart Walk, I’ll be leading a team of some 100 of my co-workers and their family members in the Cardiology Division at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

As a preventive cardiologist, I see events like this as an opportunity to raise awareness about heart disease, as well as critical funds for cardiovascular research and care. And believe me, there is a need: Did you know that more than a third of all deaths in the Dallas area are attributed to cardiovascular disease? And it’s not limited to heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes in older adults. Congenital heart disease is the largest cause of infant birth defect-related deaths.

A good kick-start

Part of the message cardiologists want to spread is the importance of making exercise a regular part of life.

Only about 20 percent of American adults get as much exercise as they should, according to American Heart Association figures. For many people, a daily walk of a couple miles can be an easy way to work exercise into their lives. For those who aren’t currently exercising, the 3-mile Dallas Heart Walk may be a good time to kick-start a program of daily walking. But it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Another way of reducing the impact of heart disease is to learn CPR – cardiopulmonary resuscitation. At UT Southwestern, CPR training classes will be offered to interested non-medical employees in the fall. Many communities offer similar opportunities, so consider taking a class in this lifesaving technique.

Join the crowd, and consider this…

Some 60,000 walkers are expected to take part in this year’s Dallas Heart Walk. If you’re among them, especially if you’re not in the daily routine of walking, here are a few suggestions:

  • If you’re a heart patient, be sure to check with your physician before taking part in the walk.
  • Mid-September weather is hot in Dallas. Bring water with you, and drink plenty of water during and immediately following the walk.
  • Wear sunscreen and bring a hat to shade your face.
  • Dress for heart-walking success. Wearing loose, light-colored clothing can help you stay cool.

I’m looking forward to the Dallas Heart Walk in September. I hope you’ll join us, and if you do, please stop by and say hello to all of us on the UT Southwestern Cardiology team. We’d love to meet you.

We’re always happy to talk about heart care. And even happier to do something about it.

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