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Support Vein Health With A Balanced Diet
You heart, arteries and veins all work together. At the Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute, we consider your whole circulatory system and are proud to offer one of the most advanced vein clinics in Alaska. Veins carry blood to your heart using valves that help keep the blood flowing upward through your body. When the valves do not function properly, blood pools and flows downward, resulting in venous reflux and varicose veins. Varicose veins are large veins, visible beneath the skin’s surface, resembling elongated, bulging and rope-like veins.
Varicose veins are more than a cosmetic problem. The condition can cause aching, throbbing and burning sensations, all of which tend to be more pronounced after prolonged sitting or standing. Not being mindful of your diet can contribute to the pain of these veins, but a balanced diet with a focus on certain beneficial foods can provide nutrients that will help prevent varicose veins and ease the pain associated with them. According to HealWithFood.org, blueberries, watercress, rosemary, avocado, ginger, asparagus, buckwheat and beets are the eight best foods for relief and prevention.
Blueberries, particularly the wild variety that grow abundantly in Alaska, help heal damaged proteins in blood vessel walls and boost the overall health of the vascular system. Avocados are loaded with vitamins C and E, both of which are vital to vascular health. Fresh ginger has the ability to break down fibrin, which is what causes varicose veins to be hard and lumpy. Asparagus helps strengthen veins and capillaries to prevent rupturing, and buckwheat is rich in the flavinoid rutin, which promotes overall vascular health. Beets are especially beneficial for the varicose system since they are rich in betacyanin, which gives the roots their intense color, as well as significantly reduces levels of naturally occurring amino acids that can harm blood vessels.
Balancing your diet is one of the best ways to get the amount of nutrients needed to prevent varicose veins and ease the pains associated with them. But, while eating healthfully can strengthen your vascular system, it can’t cure varicose veins.
Make a consultation appointment with Dr. Richard Aschuetz at the Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute’s Vein Clinic today by calling 907-563-VEIN.
To learn more about varicose veins and the treatments available, check out our Vein Clinic website at www.alaskaheart.com/veinclinic.
Staying Heart Healthy In the Winter
Having an active lifestyle year-round, even during the cold winter months, is crucial for your cardiovascular system. Cardiac issues tend to rise during the winter due to cold weather, stress, reduced outdoor activity, less vitamin D from the sun and changes in sleeping patterns. But, while the days may be short and cold, maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle in the winter can be just as fun as during warm-weather months. Here are some tips for keeping your heart healthy all winter long.
Enjoy Alaska’s Winter Grandeur
Alaska in the wintertime is an exciting place that offers a variety of outdoor activities, ranging from easy to high levels of intensity. Taking a walk along a trail is an easy way to enjoy the beauty of winter, and going out on a clear night might even offer a glimpse of the aurora borealis. Ice skating is another low-intensity activity that is fun for the entire family. Snowshoeing and cross country skiing are also popular winter activities in Alaska that get your heart going with longer, bigger steps and constant movement.
Alaskans know the importance of paying attention to the forecast and being prepared for swift temperature and weather changes. This is especially true when getting outside for winter activities. Protecting yourself from the elements and layering appropriately for rain, snow and cold temperatures can make the difference between actually enjoying your time outdoors and being completely miserable.
Consult With Your Doctor
Remaining active throughout the year promotes heart health in a big way Consult with your doctor before partaking in new winter activities to find out what is right for you and how to keep your heart safe while doing it.
Meet The Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute Team
Dr. Christopher Dyke
Dr. Christopher Dyke, a cardiologist who has been with AHVI since 2006, recognizes the challenges of a remote location like Alaska and is determined to be able to help Alaskans get top-notch care without leaving the state. Imaging technologies, such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, allow Dr. Dyke and the AHVI team to accomplish that goal.
AHVI’s CT scanner can produce a detailed image of the heart quickly and show signs of calcium-laden plaque buildup that indicates a risk for future heart disease. If a patient is considered a high risk from a CT scan, Dr. Dyke and the AHVI team have an MRI scanner, which is regarded as the best imaging machine available, to get an even better look at the heart. MRI images are so clear that they can even detect a heart attack that a patient did not know they had.
“Cardiovascular disease is still the nation’s number one killer – so finding things and doing calcium scores like we do helps to target people who are at risk”
After earning a biology degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, Dr. Dyke completed a degree in medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, where he also fulfilled his internship and medical residency. Dr. Dyke then completed a fellowship in cardiology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Dyke, who is married to fellow AHVI cardiologist Dr. Ankie Amos and has three children, quickly fell in love with Alaska during his first visit to the state in 2006.
Heart Friendly Calendar
December 5 // Winter Wonderland Walk and Community Tree Lighting
Where: Downtown Eagle River Commons from 5:30 – 8:00 PM
December 13 // Jingle Bell Run/Walk
Where: UAA Student Union
Learn more at anchoragejinglebellrun.kintera.org.
December 20 // Willow Winter Solstice Marathon
Where: Willow Community Center. Race starts at 9:00 AM
Learn more at willowrunningcompany.com.
January // Dome Runs
Where: Alaska Dome every Wednesday at 6:00 PM
Learn more at anchoragerunningclub.com
January 17 // Polar Bear 5K Run
A fundraiser for the Polar Bear Project at the Alaska Zoo, the 5K starts at 10:00 AM
Learn more at alaskazoo.org
February // American Heart Month
Learn more at americanheart.org
February 1 // Alaska Ski for Women
Where: Kincaid Park. The event starts at 8:00 AM
Learn more at anchoragenordicski.com
February 27 – March 8 // Fur Rendezvous
Where: Downtown Anchorage
Learn more about all activities, including the Frostbite Foot Race and Fun Run as well as the Running of the Reindeer, at furrondy.net
Alaskan Chef Feature
Holiday desserts don’t have to be decadent, butter-laden affairs that take hours to create. This simple dessert is easy and delicious, yet healthy and great for a crowd. It is healthier than most desserts, but the cream and vanilla ensure that guests don’t feel cheated. For more creations from Riza, visit www.rizabrowncatering.com.
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries and Fireweed Honey
From the kitchen of Riza Brown of Riza+Brown Catering
- 1/3 cup skim milk
- 1 (.25oz) envelope unflavored gelatin
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
- 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 cups strawberries, raspberries or mixed berries, sliced or halved
- 3 tablespoons fireweed honey
- Roasted nuts, chopped (optional)
- 6 serving containers (such as mason jars, champagne glasses or ramekins)