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Cardiologist at Mount Sinai in Forest Hills offers health tips during American Heart Month

Sean Kotkin- headshot-1-27-2022
Dr. Sean Kotkin from Mount Sinai- Forest Hills. (Photo courtesy of Mount Sinai)

This week kicked off American Heart Month and Mount Sinai in Forest Hills is hoping to spread awareness on what patients need to know about keeping their heart healthy. 

Dr. Sean Kotkin, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai, said that the most important takeaway for patients is knowing that their routine should consist of eating right and exercising for at least 20 minutes a day. 

Kotkin said having a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, chicken and avoiding red meats and fried foods is crucial to keeping your heart healthy. On top of diet, physical activity is important to reduce heart complications, according to Kotkin.

“We recommend about two and a half hours a week or 20 minutes a day to keep your cholesterol in check and keeping your blood pressure down,” Kotkin said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean running a marathon but walking to the grocery store or taking an extra subway stop and walking a bit further is enough physical activity.

Heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions, the most common being coronary artery disease brought on by high cholesterol. Kotkin said that people should visit their doctor regularly because heart disease often has symptoms that may go unnoticed.

Mount Sinai-Forest Hills. (Photo courtesy of Mount Sinai.)

Symptoms could include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain and high excursion during normal activities. 

“If you’re not feeling well or something’s not right, you should check in with your primary care doctor to learn where to go from there,” Kotkin said. “Things like high blood pressure and cholesterol — those are not exactly things that you feel. The longer it goes unnoticed the more likely it is to develop a problem. That’s why it’s important to get screenings.”

According to Kotkin, some risk factors are harder to control, like genetics and family history. But Kotkin stressed the importance of prevention and altering daily life choices to avoid heart disease. 

“These are things in our life we can change that contribute to heart disease in general and I think that’s the most important thing to focus on is preventing heart disease before it happens,” Kotkin said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women of most racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. In Queens County, about 173.4 people per 100,000 died of heart diseases and 80 per 10,000 were hospitalized for heart complications from 2016 to 2018. 

Kotkin said that since doctors now have the capability of virtual Telehealth visits, people should touch base with their doctors regularly. 

“Now that we have these newer modalities, it’s important that people don’t wait too long,” Kotkin said.

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