Nurturing Heart Health
It's Heart Health Month!
February is all about matters of the heart, and we don't just mean Valentine's day! February is a month dedicated to raising awareness about cardiovascular health. While we often associate heart health with lifestyle choices like diet and exercise, it's crucial to recognise the interconnected role of allied health services. Let's explore how Exercise Physiology, Dietetics, and Physiotherapy contribute to nurturing heart health, emphasising the importance of a holistic approach.
A Fit Heart
Exercise is a powerful tool in maintaining cardiovascular health, and exercise physiologists play a key role in crafting personalised fitness plans. These professionals assess individual fitness levels, design tailored exercise routines, and monitor progress. Regular physical activity helps lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, and enhance overall heart function. Whether aerobic exercises, strength training, or a combination of both, an exercise physiologist can guide individuals towards activities promoting heart health.
Heart Healthy Eating
A heart-healthy diet is paramount in preventing cardiovascular diseases. Research shows that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of developing heart disease, including heart attack, and is also beneficial in helping people with existing heart disease to manage their risk factors such as cholesterol and blood pressure.
A Mediterranean-style diet promotes health by having a good balance of healthy fats by aiming to have 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per day and 3 x servings of oily fish per week. Including fresh foods (e.g. fruit, vegetables, unsalted nuts/beans and legumes) that are high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and high in fibre, all of which can improve heart and health. 0
Dietitians work alongside individuals to develop sustainable eating habits, ensuring a balance of essential nutrients. Dietitians can also address conditions like obesity, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease, through weight management strategies. By combining personalised nutrition advice with behavioural changes, dietitians contribute significantly to heart health.
Getting you back on your feet.
For those who have experienced cardiovascular events or undergone heart surgeries, physiotherapy plays a vital role in rehabilitation. Physiotherapists design exercise programs to gradually rebuild strength, stamina, and mobility. Through tailored interventions, they address cardiac risk factors, such as obesity and inactivity, while also aiding in the management of conditions like hypertension. The emphasis on a gradual and monitored approach ensures a safe return to physical activity, promoting long-term cardiovascular health.
The Speech Connection
Speech pathologists play a unique role in heart health by addressing issues related to swallowing and communication. Cardiovascular diseases can impact the muscles involved in swallowing, leading to complications. Speech pathologists assess and provide interventions to improve swallowing function, ensuring individuals can maintain proper nutrition and hydration. Additionally, they work with patients who may experience communication difficulties due to stroke or other cardiac events, facilitating effective communication during the rehabilitation process.
All Together Now
Taking an approach to heart health that considers the integration of these allied health services ensures a well-rounded preventative or recovery care plan is in place. Coordinated care among exercise physiologists, dietitians, physiotherapists, and speech pathologists ensures a comprehensive strategy for individuals seeking to improve or maintain their cardiovascular health. Collaborative efforts empower individuals to make sustainable lifestyle changes, simultaneously addressing multiple aspects of heart health.
The Heart of the Matter
As we celebrate Heart Health Month, it's crucial to recognise the pivotal role of allied health services, including speech pathology, in the journey towards cardiovascular wellbeing. Exercise physiology, dietetics, physiotherapy and speech pathology can work together addressing various aspects of heart health and empowering individuals to lead heart-healthy lives. By fostering collaboration among these allied health professionals, we can pave the way for a healthier and more heart-conscious community.