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Heart valve disease is one of the most common cardiac issues. Would you believe us if we told you as many as 11 million Americans are currently living with the disease?

Unfortunately, not many people know about heart valve disease. According to a recent study, three out of four Americans know little to nothing about heart valve disease. Let’s change that statistic.

Healthy heart valves keep blood flowing in the right direction while carrying oxygen and nutrients to the body. Heart valve disease is caused when one or more of the valves doesn't open or close properly, which... Read More »

Americans sit an average of 10 hours each day.

Let that sink in.

Extended sitting, whether it be at a desk, behind the wheel or in front of a screen can put serious strain on your heart. Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with higher risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and other heart-related problems.

Take a look at your work day or even your typical day off. If you can’t remember when you got up from the chair or couch, then it’s time to get moving.

The best thing you can do to counteract the harms of sitting is to get up every... Read More »

Celebrating the season to be merry with too much alcohol can put your heart health at risk.

Overindulging in alcohol can result in an irregular heartbeat, according to Wayne Leimbach, M.D., medical director of Oklahoma Heart Institute.

“Too much alcohol intake can trigger a holiday heart event,” said Leimbach. “Holiday heart attacks are heart rhythm disturbances often triggered by excessive alcohol intake. Some can be lethal, but more commonly, many can change your holiday plans to a stay at the hospital.”

Leimbach encourages individuals to keep their alcohol intake to... Read More »

It may be the most wonderful time of the year – but not always for your heart.

“The holidays are a time for being with our families and a time of joy for many,” said Wayne Leimbach, M.D., medical director of Oklahoma Heart Institute. “But, because of the stress, fatigue and frequent overindulgence, the holiday season can also trigger heart attacks.”

Studies suggest more cardiac emergencies happen during the winter holiday season (December and January).

There are a few things you can do to minimize your risk of holiday heart attack, according to Leimbach.

“... Read More »

Millions of Americans have diabetes and yet are unaware of their condition. However, that was not the case for Oklahoma native Robert Amey who had two siblings suffer from this condition.

“I’m the oldest of six children and two were diabetic,” Amey said. “I lost both of them.”

Amey’s youngest brother was born with both diabetes and epilepsy; complications eventually resulted in his death as a young man. His other brother was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes early in his adulthood.

“He didn't really take care of himself like he should,” said Amey. “One day he took an... Read More »

Deciding to change is hard. It’s even harder to make that decision, stick with it and improve your life.

Oklahoma native Wanda Vogel, 68, knew how hard it can be to change your path. She had the warning of prediabetes and a registered dietitian daughter pushing her to change, but none of that was enough to break the cycle of failed attempts to enact positive change. It wasn’t until a referral to an Oklahoma Heart Institute endocrinologist and a call from the comprehensive diabetes program staff that Vogel decided this was her chance.

“It was the first day they were open and I... Read More »

Sandra Tinker was in her mid-40s when she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

“It was a surprise, although I knew it ran on both sides of my family,” Tinker said. “I just never thought about it.”

Prior to her diagnosis, Tinker was always tired and had little energy.

“I wanted to sleep all of the time,” Tinker said. “My doctor took a blood sugar test and that’s when I learned I was diabetic.”

Following her diagnosis, Tinker continued to receive care from her primary care provider, until she sought out an endocrinologist in the Tulsa area.

Tinker felt the... Read More »

Not all, but most.   Highly processed foods can be manufactured with ingredients that are not typically used in cooking. Packaged foods can also be loaded with high amounts of sodium, sugar and fat.   Susannah McCabe, registered dietitian with Oklahoma Heart Institute, speaks to the negative impact packaged or processed foods have on our bodies.   “Processed foods can contain high contents of added sodium, sugars and some may contain partially hydrogenated oils,” McCabe said.    Hydrogenation is a process in which a liquid unsaturated fat is turned into a solid fat by adding hydrogen. The... Read More »

Kathleen Marshall is always on the go.

“I get up in the morning, hit the ground running and I go all day long,” Marshall said.

The 68-year-old stays busy navigating life with her three children, five grandchildren and a booming business, Kathleen’s Kids, to run.

Marshall also regularly attends ballroom dance and tai chi classes.

Even the busiest of days have never fully masked Marshall’s underlying condition of atrial fibrillation (AFib), a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).

“I had a heart cath years ago when they discovered I had AFib,”... Read More »

It’s that simple. Following a heart-healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AFib). Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.

We know that older age increases the risk of developing atrial fibrillation — but that’s not all. Other major contributing factors include heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and heavy drinking.

Adopting the following healthy habits can help lower your risk for not only AFib, but also for all types of heart... Read More »