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February is American Heart Month

Keep your heart pumping –
February is American Heart Month

Written by Dr. Serena Roda, PT, DPT – Doctor of Physical Therapy


A few startling facts about Heart Disease…

Chronic diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S.

Usually the first sign of Heart Disease is SUDDEN CARDIAC DEATH (abrupt loss of heart functions) occurring without any other warning!2  Often individuals having Sudden Cardiac Death are given a clean bill of health, by a health care provider, within 6 months prior to the incident.

Our team of highly educated health care and fitness professionals at San Luis Sports Therapy is here to raise awareness of the major signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease, help you identify the preventable and modifiable cardiovascular disease risk factors and promote heart health by sharing the recommended guidelines for the appropriate physical activity to reduce your cardiovascular disease risk.

Prevent death and disability when you are able to identify these Major Signs & Symptoms of Heart Disease3

  • Pain, discomfort, pressure or heaviness (not relieved by belching) in the chest, neck, jaw, arms, or other areas that may be due to ischemia
  • Shortness of breath at rest or with mild exertion
  • Dizziness, loss of consciousness or fainting
  • Difficulty breathing, especially while lying down at night
  • Ankle swelling
  • Palpitations or tachycardia (irregular or fast heart rate)
  • Pain, achiness, fatigue, burning, or discomfort in the muscles of your feet, calves, or thighs. These symptoms start during exercise and go away after several minutes of rest.
  • Unusual fatigue or shortness of breath with usual activities

NON-MODIFIABLE – “The cards you were dealt”, so to say.

  • Age & Gender (Men > 45 years of age; Women > 55 years of age)
  • Race (African American > Caucasians; Hispanic women)
  • Family History (Heart Attack/Myocardial Infarction; Coronary revascularization; Sudden death due to CV event; -before age 55 in father or 1stdegree male relative or before age 65 in mother or 1st degree female relative)

MODIFIABLE – Preventable; factors that you have control over.
Click here to identify your risk factor and evaluate yourself with our printer friendly version!

  • Smoking/Tobacco Use:
    – Current user OR Quit within previous 6 months 
  • Blood Pressure:
    – Systolic >140 mmHg OR Diastolic >90mmHg
    – Taking anti-hypertensive medication (Diuretic, Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE inhibitor), Angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB), Beta Blocker)
  • Dyslipidemia (Cholesterol Levels):
    – LDL >130 mg/dl OR HDL <40 OR Total cholesterol >200 mg/dl
    – Taking a cholesterol lowering medication [Statins, Fibrates, (gemfibrozil, Lopid), Cholestyramines (Questran), Niacin, Ezetimibe (Zetia)]
  • Obesity & Waist Circumference:
       Obesity = BMI >30 kg/m2
      – BMI 25- 29.9 kg/m2AND waist circumference measures:
    Women > 35 inches (88cm), Men > 40 inches (102cm)
    BMI 25 -29.9 kg/m2, Waist Circumference Measured*
    *Not helpful when BMI is NORMAL, BMI overweight (25-29.9 kg/m2), waist circumference is an indicator whether weight is fat or muscle.  (Source:  NIH, NHLBI)
    Image for heart pumping
  • Physical Activity
    – No regular exercise/activity
    – Not meeting minimal ACSM/AHA physical activity recommendations(2007,                       updated February 2010)
  • Current Disease(s): 

Cardiovascular Diseases include coronary disease (angina), Peripheral arterial disease, or cerebrovascular diseases (stroke or TIAs).
Pulmonary Diseases include COPD/Emphysema, Asthma or Fibrosis.
Metabolic diseases include Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM, NIDDM), dysfunction of thyroid (hyper or hypo), kidneys or liver; abnormal glucose metabolism. 

The four main causes of chronic disease1 include:
Lack of Physical Activity
Poor nutrition

Tobacco use
Excessive alcohol consumption

All are modifiable risk factors you have control over.

Identify YOUR Cardiovascular Disease RISK STATUS4

– Younger individuals (Men <45 years of age, Women <55 years of age)
   – Meet threshold for not more than ONE Risk Factor.

     – Older individuals (Men > 45 years of age, Women > 55 years of age)
     – Meet the threshold for TWO or more risk factors

     – ONE or more Major Signs/Symptoms (listed above)
     – Known cardiovascular, pulmonary or metabolic disease (diabetes or thyroid dysfunction)

Are you still unsure of YOUR Cardiovascular Disease RISK STATUS?
Call today to schedule your no-obligations complimentary consultation!



Reduce your modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease with these

Contact YOUR PHYSICIAN as needed for:
     – Screening Cholesterol Levels
        Total <200mg/dL
HDL   >60mg/dL
LDL   <100mg/Dl

     – Screening Glucose Metabolism

     – Screening Thyroid Function

     – Tobacco Cessation Assistance

     – Blood Pressure Screens

     – Resting and your response to physical activity
        <120/<80 mmHg at rest
     – Body Mass Index Calculation & Waist Circumference Measurements
        18.5 -24.9 kg/m2*
       *If BMI 25 to 29.9 kg/m2
Waist Circumference
Women <35 inches (88cm)
Men <40 inches (102cm)



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Establish your team of health care and fitness professionals, at San Luis Sports Therapy, who work closely with your physician to prescribe you a fitness training program of safe and effective physical activity designed for heart health.


      – Physical Activity Plan
         (Minimal ACSM/AHA Recommendations)5
Adults 18-65 years old
      – Endurance/Aerobic Physical Activity
         ◦ Minimum 30 minute, 5 days/week, moderate intensity
◦ Minimum of 20 minutes, 3 days/week, vigorous intensity
◦ Combination of moderate/vigorous
◦Routine light intensity activities
*bouts lasting >10 minutes accumulated throughout the day
         AND Muscle Strengthening Activities
         ◦ 2 days/week (non-consecutive)
◦ 8-10 exercises
◦ 8-12 repetitions/exercise
◦ Major muscle groups
Adults over age 65 (or adults 50-64 with chronic conditions, such as arthritis)

     – Endurance/Aerobic Physical Activity
        ◦ Minimum 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, moderate intensity
◦ Minimum 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week, vigorous intensity
        AND Muscle Strengthening Activities
        ◦ 2-3 days/week (non-consecutive)
◦ 8 -10 exercises
◦ 10-15 repetitions of each exercise
       AND Balance Exercises
       AND Physical Activity Plan




  1. WHY YOUR GOAL is important to you?
  2. How committed are you (scale 0-10)?
    0                                                 5                                                 10
    Not                                      Moderately                               Extremely
    Committed                            Committed                               Committed


  1. What prevents you from being more active?


Maybe, you are looking for a fitness training program prescribed to ensure safe and effective physical activity designed to reduce your cardiovascular disease risk factors?  Our team of highly educated health care and fitness professionals at San Luis Sports Therapy is here to help identify your cardiovascular disease risk status and prescribe safe, effective & heart healthy fitness training programs.

Call today to schedule your no-obligations complimentary consultation! 

CV Risk Patient HO

Click here to identify your risk factor and evaluate yourself with our printer friendly version!

San Luis Sports Therapy- Paso Robles
1345 Park St
Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 226-0975

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/
  2. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/heart/disorders/arrhythmia/sudden-cardiac-death
  3. Scherer, Susan A.; Audio conference: They are called Vital Signs because they are Vital:  Ensuring Safe Physical Activity in your Physical Therapy Practice, Regis University, School of Physical Therapy, Denver, CO; November 6, 2008.
  4. http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/acsm-in-the-news/2011/08/01/acsm-aha-support-federal-physical-activity-guidelines

Providing movement for life because
movement is living