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Interview with Dr. Albert Zoda, Cardiologist at Mt. Nittany Medical Center

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Medical Minute; 3:22

Dave Kurten:  The 3WZ Medical Minute is brought to you by Mt. Nittany Medical Center – “Mt. Nittany Life Forward”.  Our guest today is Dr. Albert Zoda, Cardiologist at the Mt. Nittany Medical Center.  First of all, Dr. Zoda, what are the top 3 pieces of advice that you would give for heart health?

Dr. Zoda:  #1 would be to stop smoking, smoking is the most preventable risk factor for heart disease, #2 exercise regularly and #3 eat a healthy diet.

Dave Kurten:  The first thing you mentioned was quitting smoking that could be extremely hard for some people.  What do you tell people who are struggling to quit?

Dr. Zoda:  #1 you need to be emotionally and mentally ready to stop smoking, #2 do it for yourself and not to please someone else, #3 know it will be hard – up to 75% of people who quit smoking restart and it may take 3 or 4 attempts at stopping before there is success.  And people need to consider that stopping smoking can increase your life span.  If you are 35-39 years old and you smoke, when you stop, you can live an average of 6-9 years more than if you continue smoking.  If a medication could do this, then everyone in the world would want to be on it.

Dave Kurten:  What’s the best form of exercise for heart health?

Dr. Zoda:  The best form of exercise for heart health is aerobic type of exercise; this would include walking, cycling, swimming, and similar types of activities.  Exercising at least 3 times a week and ideally on a daily basis for up to 30-60 minutes can improve your cardiovascular health.

Dave Kurten:  What nutritional guidelines should people follow for optimal hearth health?

Dr. Zoda:  There’s a simple expression – “you are what you eat”.  Four of the main risk factors for heart disease are related to diet; this includes diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and elevated cholesterol levels.  So, #1 choose your fats wisely, try to avoid saturated fats and animal products, try to avoid trans fats, increase fiber in your diet, this would include eating whole grains, increase fruits and vegetables up to 5-7 servings a day, and eating beans 4 times per week.  The simple thing is to try to substitute plant protein for animal protein.  Other strategies could be to break down your meals into smaller portions and spread them throughout the day and decreased proportions in any given meal.

Dave Kurten:  Now we’ve heard about these studies that show that chocolate and red wine is good for the heart, is that true?

Dr. Zoda:  Yes, both dark chocolate and red wine can be beneficial to cardiovascular health; both contain anti-oxidants; however these substances are also present in other foods such as cranberries, apples, peanuts, onions, and tea.  The beneficial amount of eating dark chocolate is not really known, so a small piece on a daily basis or every few days would be okay.  As far as drinking wine, drinking one glass of wine per day for a women or two per day for men, may increase your heart health.  However, if you don’t drink, don’t start for this effect and if you do drink, don’t increase the amount for any added benefit to your heart because drinking too much has its own serious consequences.

Dave Kurten:  Where can people get more information about heart health?

Dr. Zoda:  First of all, I would speak to your health care provider.  Other sources of information can be on the internet, such as the site of the American Heart Association and also the site of the Cleveland Clinic, both of these sites provide excellent patient information.

Dave Kurten:  Our guest today has been Dr. Albert Zoda, Cardiologist at the Mt. Nittany Medical Center.  Thanks for spending some time with us today!

Dr. Zoda:  Thank you very much.

Dave Kurten:  The 3WZ Medical Minute is brought to you by Mt. Nittany Medical Center – “Mt. Nittany Life Forward”. 


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