Tulsa Doctor Shares 7 Steps To A Healthier Heart

There are some simple steps to take to help ensure your heart is strong. Dr. Stacy Chronister is an internal medicine specialist with OSU Medicine and she's here to walk us through 7 steps to a healthier heart.

Monday, January 29th 2024, 10:19 am

By: News On 6


February is almost here and that's heart health month. There are some simple steps to take to help ensure your heart is strong.

Dr. Stacy Chronister is an internal medicine specialist with OSU Medicine. She joins us at 9 in the morning to walk us through 7 steps to a healthier heart.

Dr. Chronister goes over the following steps:

Quit smoking or using tobacco

"All forms of tobacco, if you are struggling with that addiction, it is very difficult to break. Please reach out to a physician. We have ways to help if you haven't been successful before, to try to get you to get off of the tobacco," Dr. Chronister said.


"For heart health, what we know is that 150 minutes a week. That averages out to 30 minutes over the, you know, Monday through Friday. So five days a week, 30 minutes.

But really, when we talk about it, that's hard to do. It's hard for a lot of people, especially if it's not already in your life, to stop and say, 'now I'm going to dedicate 30 minutes to this.'

So the good news is that we can add it all together. So it can be 10 minutes here. It can even be five minutes. And really it's even those people that keep moving throughout the day that actually have even better heart health," Dr. Chronister said.

Eat a heart-healthy diet

"You know, there's a lot of different things that we can look at. And of course, we want to eat fresh as much as we can. A great way to to look at that is to look at our salt content. So let's keep our salt content under two grams a day. That comes from things like bags, boxes, cans are gonna be a lot higher in sodium. Sodium increases our blood pressure.

And so if we can avoid the foods that are high in sodium, we're probably eating a healthier diet, and we're healthy on our blood pressure too. The nice thing is that actually bananas, or foods that are higher in potassium, can lower your blood pressure. So absolutely grab something that's a little bit higher in potassium," Dr. Chronister said.

Maintain a healthy weight

"The fact that we're asking you to move a little bit more, eat less salt, eat a little bit healthier, will naturally play a role with you losing a little bit of weight, or keeping or holding weight maintenance. Because that has a lot to do with our heart health," Dr. Chronister explained.

Get enough quality sleep

"We need to be getting at least six to eight hours. Now as you age, sleep becomes a little bit different. You don't need nearly as much. But you might find yourself kind of cat napping throughout the day. That's perfect if you only get about four or five hours. But if you can get it, that nap during the day, that will be very helpful. Avoiding alcohol is a really big key, and (avoiding) caffeine before you go to bed. And if you find yourself snoring, get it checked out. Talk to a doctor," Dr. Chronister said.

Blood pressure control

"So what we really want is that systolic blood pressure, that upper number to be less than 130. And the lower number to be less than 80. So if we can keep those numbers low, that helps out the back of our eyes, our kidneys, our brains, our heart from having to work so hard, and from getting damaged from those high blood pressures," Dr. Chronister explained.

Get screened for high cholesterol and diabetes

"In addition to having high blood pressure and our weight, the biggest things that we can look for is diabetes and high cholesterol. Because that is what is contributing to bad heart health. The cholesterol embeds itself into the vessels of the heart. And that is where we get a lot of the plaques and the hardening of our hearts. So if we can keep our cholesterol lower, all the better," Dr. Chronister said.

How do genetics play a part in heart health?

"So if you know that you have somebody in your family with heart disease, you are more at risk as well. So easier to get checked out much earlier, especially if anyone under the age of 50 in your family who's had a heart attack or stroke. That is a much higher risk than someone who's had maybe a heart attack or stroke in your family, upper ages; 70, 80," Dr. Chronister said.


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