Internal medicine practitioners are similar to family physicians, as they diagnose, treat, and work to prevent diseases and conditions. However, unlike family doctors, internists focus exclusively on adult patients. If you’ve been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, consider adding an internist to your care team, such as Dr. Briones, who serves Mt. Kisco and the surrounding Westchester County.
Heart failure patients will usually be prescribed a combination of medications. Although there is no cure for heart failure, medications can help suppress the symptoms, and make it easier for your heart to pump blood. Taking your medications as prescribed will help prevent your condition from becoming worse. When patients take combinations of medications, managing them becomes even more important. Some heart failure medicines may require dietary modifications, such as aldosterone antagonists. These drugs can elevate your potassium level to a potentially dangerous point, and so your internal medicine practitioner may give you a low-potassium meal plan to follow. Another consideration is side effects. All drugs have the potential for side effects, and you won’t necessarily experience any major problems. If you do, talk to your internist—he or she may be able to prescribe a different drug within the same class.
Good nutrition is important for everyone, regardless of health status. However, it’s even more crucial for heart failure patients to eat a heart-healthy diet. Your internist will work with you to design a meal plan that you’ll enjoy and find easy to follow. An ideal diet for heart failure includes:
- Lots of vegetables and fruits
- Whole grains, rather than refined grains
- Lean proteins
- Nonfat or low-fat dairy products
- Negligible amounts of sodium
Too much sodium in your diet leads to water retention. This is indicated by swollen legs, ankles, and feet. Water retention forces your heart to work harder, causing shortness of breath.
Weight Loss Counseling
Heart failure patients are often advised to lose weight as obesity can lead to cardiovascular problems. Following the internist’s recommended meal plan is an effective way to reach a healthier weight. Your doctor will also likely discuss your exercise recommendations, and help you stay on track with your lifestyle plan.
During a typical day, an average person might hastily grab breakfast on the way out the door or in a fast food drive-thru. He or she might work while eating lunch and watch TV while eating dinner. This is the opposite of mindful eating, and it’s one reason why so many people find it difficult to lose weight. When you become a patient at a weight loss clinic serving Mt. Kisco and the surrounding Westchester County, you’ll learn the effective strategies—like mindful eating—that will help you finally reach your weight loss goals .
Understanding Mindless Eating
To manage your appetite by eating mindfully, it’s helpful to understand exactly what mindless eating is. Mindless eating is the act of consuming food without experiencing it. It often involves eating while working, texting, watching TV, studying, or even driving—which is dangerous as well as unhealthy. Mindless eating is also characterized by:
- Eating food to satisfy an emotional need
- Eating while isolated from others, at random times that aren’t mealtimes
- Ignoring the body’s satiety signals
- Eating to reach an end goal
Understanding Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is done to satisfy hunger, but it’s the process that matters—not the end result. With mindful eating, diners pay attention to each bite they take. They chew slowly, taking the time to experience the flavors, textures, odors, and even the temperatures of the food. A mindful eater can identify when he or she is half-full, full, or still hungry. Mindful eaters also pay attention to how they feel while eating, and after eating as they digest their meal. Considering how the food was grown or raised, processed, and cooked is another part of eating mindfully.
Practicing Mindful Eating
Mindful eating can be more difficult than you might think, as it’s easy to let the mind wander, or to get bored and turn on the TV. Try to start by eating a few mindful meals each week, and gradually increase their frequency. The following tips can help you get started:
- Turn your cellphone off
- Sit down to the meal with your family
- Face away from the TV
- Eat in companionable silence—don’t force conversation
- Eat slowly
Focusing your mind on the experience of eating can help you understand your appetite and manage it better. You’ll see concrete benefits as you lose weight.
In recent years, multiple studies have demonstrated the correlation between obesity and cardiovascular disease. In light of these findings, weight loss programs near Mt. Kisco and the surrounding Westchester County have become even more important for individuals who struggle with overweight and obesity . At a weight loss clinic, a successful approach to non-surgical weight loss may help patients reduce their risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease.
You can learn more about this research by watching this interview with a cardiologist. He explains the dangers of the “fast food society” and asserts that there is a link between belly fat and the rise of inflammatory factors in the body. This systemic inflammation can contribute to damage to the blood vessels and to the organs throughout the body. Fortunately, effective weight loss programs can help patients preserve their health.
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