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Video: Cardiologists Recommend Lifestyle Habits for Healthy Hearts

Diet, Vitamins, Exercise Are Key

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- February may be American Heart Month, but keeping your heart healthy is a year-round proposition. Eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly are two pillars of heart health. However, a new study shows that nearly three-quarters of cardiologists would add another recommendation: taking dietary supplements.

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In fact, 73 percent of cardiologists believe this regimen - healthy diet + vitamins and other supplements + exercise - is essential for a healthy heart, according to new research from the "Life...supplemented" Healthcare Professionals (HCP) Impact Study. The study also showed that 72 percent of the nation's cardiologists recommend dietary supplements to their patients, and more than half (57 percent) take supplements themselves, with the most popular being multivitamins, omega-3/fish oils and vitamin C.

"Dietary supplements play an important role in a well-balanced health regimen, filling nutritional gaps and helping to promote overall health," says William Cooper, M.D., medical director of cardiovascular surgery at WellStar Kennestone Hospital, assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Emory University and advisor to the "Life...supplemented" campaign. "For those at high risk for heart disease, there's evidence that consistent use of certain supplements may help as part of a preventative program."

For example, Dr. Cooper points to the benefits of omega-3 fatty acid/fish oil supplements to help reduce inflammation, lower triglyceride levels and contribute to a healthy heart. He also recommends multivitamins, noting that the first step to heart health is maintaining overall health, and is a strong advocate of the benefits of fiber and phytosterol supplements for cholesterol-lowering effects. Other supplements to consider for heart health include antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, B vitamins, coenzyme Q10, calcium, potassium and magnesium. A healthy diet complemented by appropriate vitamins, minerals and other supplements is part of a long-term effective solution. In fact, 54 percent of cardiologists believe dietary supplements can play an important role in improving or maintaining the health of their patients.

If all this information sounds confusing, don't be afraid to ask a doctor for guidance. Sixty-two percent of cardiologists agree that one of their roles as a healthcare professional is to provide information to patients on dietary supplements. The ones they are most often asked about include omega-3/fish oil (80 percent), coenzyme Q10 (58 percent), vitamin E (39 percent), multivitamins (36 percent), and glucosamine and/or chondroitin (35 percent). A good way to start the conversation is to visit and take "My Wellness Scorecard." It's a free, fast, fun interactive wellness assessment tool that helps identify realistic and personalized steps people can take toward better health. Take your results to your physician to develop a wellness regimen that works for you.

While a well-balanced wellness regimen that includes a healthy diet, vitamins and regular exercise is the foundation for long-term health, there are other steps you can add to help protect your heart:

  1. Talk to your doctor; don't be afraid to ask questions. Form a partnership with your physician to set realistic goals for your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  2. Engage in stress-reducing behaviors, such as yoga, meditation and massages, and be sure to get a good night's sleep on a regular basis.
  3. Don't smoke. Research concludes that smoking is not good for your health or your heart.

Methodology: Results from the 2008 "Life...supplemented" HCP Impact Study went public in November 2008 and comprise three separate surveys -- 300 cardiologists, 300 dermatologists and 300 orthopaedic specialists. Margins of sampling error at a 95 percent confidence level are ±5.7 percentage points for each of the specialty groups of healthcare professionals surveyed (dermatologists, cardiologists and orthopaedic specialists). A nominal honorarium was given to each healthcare professional completing the survey. Ipsos Public-Affairs conducted the survey online. The first "Life...supplemented" HCP Impact Study of primary care physicians, OB/GYNs and nurses was conducted online in November 2007.

About the "Life...supplemented" HCP Impact Study: The study is part of the "Life...supplemented" consumer wellness campaign, which is dedicated to driving awareness about the mainstream use of dietary supplements as an integral part of a proactive personal wellness regimen that combines healthy diet, supplements and exercise. The study evaluates the personal attitudes and use of dietary supplements by healthcare professionals and whether their attitudes toward supplements affect their clinical behavior and recommendations to patients. The "Life...supplemented" campaign is managed by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the leading trade association for the dietary supplement industry. For more information:

SOURCE Life...Supplemented.
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