Skip Navigation LinksHome > May 2013 - Volume 7 - Issue 2 > Building a Healthier Heart
Text sizing:
HEART Insight:
doi: 10.1097/01.HEARTI.0000429706.10495.81
Departments: On My Mind

Building a Healthier Heart

Section Editor(s): Grady, Kathleen L. Ph.D., A.P.N., F.A.H.A., F.A.A.N.; Editorial Board Chair, HEART INSIGHT

Free Access

Most of us would never think that a medical treatment used to save the life of someone with cancer could have serious complications down the line. But that's just what happened to our cover subject, building contractor Patrick Shaw. Diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma at age 29, Pat went through a rigorous treatment regimen of radiation and chemotherapy, which thankfully cured his cancer. Then 20 years later, Pat started experiencing shortness of breath and pain, and he learned that the radiation he received all those years ago had damaged his heart, leading to serious heart problems. With the help of his doctors, Pat is now active and feeling good, taking care of himself and his family with lots of physical activity and healthy eating. And he wants to spread the word about the heart risks that come with radiation therapy. Luckily, the radiation that cancer patients receive today is much safer than that of 20 years ago. But for those who had radiation therapy through the mid-1980s, it's important to know the risks to avoid complications.

Figure. No caption a...
Image Tools

If you've been in the hospital for surgery or a cardiac procedure, you probably can't wait to get home. But once you're there, do you know what to do to stay healthy? “Take Charge of Your Hospital Discharge,” on page 8, tells you how to make sure you get the information you need before you leave the hospital—so you won't end up back there anytime soon!

Saturated fats, trans fats, polyunsaturated fats … what does it all mean? Understanding which fats are good for you and which aren't is key to healthy eating. “Face the Fats,” on page 12, provides you with everything you need to know about the fats you'll find in many foods, along with guidelines for adding the good ones to your eating plan and limiting the bad ones.

“Life's Simple 7,” on page 16, provides information on modest lifestyle and behavioral changes that can lead you to a lifetime of good health. In this issue, you'll find information on understanding blood pressure readings; tips for eating healthy when you dine out; ideas for helping kids get physical activity at home; the importance of adding strength training to your workout; and the link between diabetes and heart disease. And be sure to treat your Mom this Mother's Day (or yourself!) to some of the delicious recipes on page 20.

Don't forget to visit us at and read our two online-only bonus articles: “Assess Your Risk of Heart Damage from Radiation” and “Deciphering % Daily Value.”

This is my last issue as Editorial Board Chair of HEART INSIGHT, and I truly enjoyed working to bring you inspirational and valuable articles to help you live a heart-healthy life. Michael A. Bettmann, M.D., F.A.H.A., F.A.A.N., will be taking over as the newest Editorial Board Chair starting with the August issue, and I know he'll do a great job continuing to bring you the latest information on heart-healthy living.

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions—e-mail us at or write to HEART INSIGHT, 323 Norristown Road, Suite 200, Ambler, PA 19002. You can also follow us on Twitter:



Editorial Board Chair, HEART INSIGHT

© 2013 by the American Heart Association