University of Pennsylvania Health System

Penn Health and Wellness

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

5 tips to prevent heart disease

February is National Heart Month. Heart disease, the number one killer of adult men and women in the United States, includes coronary artery disease, arrhythmias and congenital heart disease. Despite its prevalence, there are ways to reduce the risk for heart disease. In fact, the best defense against heart disease is a commitment to a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Take these steps to help prevent heart disease:

Exercise
Exercise is one of the best ways to become healthier and reduce the risk for heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, all it takes is 30 minutes a day, five days a week to reap the positive benefits of exercise for the heart.

Don’t smoke or use tobacco
Tobacco negatively impacts every organ in the body, but it is particularly harmful for the cardiovascular system. The chemicals in tobacco smoke increase the risk of atherosclerosis and can damage the heart. For people struggling to quit, Penn’s Comprehensive Smoking Cessation Program can help them curb the habit safely and comfortably.

Eat right
Maintaining a healthy diet is easier said than done for most people, but it is crucial for a healthy heart. Eating properly protects the heart from disease, controls blood pressure and prevents type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.

Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity is an epidemic in this country with more than one third of adults qualifying as obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Obesity is linked to many diseases including heart disease. For people who cannot manage their weight through exercise and diet, weight loss surgery may be a good option. Learn more about the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program, which offers multidisciplinary care and the latest surgical procedures to help patients reach and maintain their weight loss goals.

Get regular health screenings
Regular health screenings are important to identify potential health issues before they become problematic. For many conditions, early detection improves the chances for more effective treatment or even a cure. The CDC recommends several suggested health checkups.

Capturing a More Accurate Picture of Breast Health

It’s a revolutionary way to perform mammograms: combining traditional mammography with 3D technology to give a more accurate picture of breast health. It’s called digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) and it’s being used for breast cancer screening and diagnosis at Penn.

DBT captures images using traditional X-ray technology moving along a small arc around the breast and recording images at different depths and angles. The images produced have  an unprecedented amount of clarity and detail, reducing the false-positives and false-negatives often associated with traditional 2D mammography. That means less unnecessary imaging, stress and fear for patients. Penn Medicine offers DBT combined with personalized, multidisciplinary care at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine for breast cancer screening.

Treatment Options for Urinary Incontinence

The loss of bladder control is a common and embarrassing problem for many women, but it’s actually very common, affecting women of all ages.

Symptoms of urinary incontinence can range from leaking urine when coughing, sneezing or exercising to the sudden urge to urinate. Some women also experience pelvic pressure, which can signal a variety of bladder or pelvic conditions and should be checked by a physician.

For women suffering with urinary continence, Penn Urogynecology offers a variety of treatment options to help them get back to living again with improved bladder control.

Read more about Penn Urogynecology and treatment options
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