Four tips for a healthy heart
"Be more like my hamsters" isn't advice patients hear from a doctor very often.
But at the Heart Center at MultiCare Covington Medical Center, medical advice and hamster references sometimes go hand in hand.
Micheal Lippman, MD, specializes in heart disease and diabetes care. Dr. Lippman often refers to toy hamsters, a pet project turned cultural phenomenon at the clinic, to share messages about heart health and infuse clinic visits with fun.
The clinic staff decorate the hamsters for all occasions and seasons — football games, holidays, Game of Thrones Season openers, Seafair. The hamsters have also been known to travel with patients and staff on vacations including Yellowstone National Park, Jerusalum, The Netherlands (Hamsterdam to be exact) and Disneyland.
For Heart Month, we asked Dr. Lippman and the hamsters to share tips for heart health. This list is not exhaustive but according to Dr. Lippman and the hamsters, everyone can benefit from these four things.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Limit carbs and processed foods.
"The biggest thing for heart health is exercise," Dr. Lippman says. "For all the things to do to avoid heart disease, exercise has the most effect."
Get plenty of sleep
Think sleep doesn't matter for heart health? Dr. Lippman says think again. Evidence shows lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and other factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
"Everyone is busy and we have things we want to do but it is important to go to bed at a good time," Dr. Lippman says.
"You have to do something fun. Something you like doing so it's not work — it's fun."
Want more of the Heart Center Hamsters in your life (and social media feeds)? Follow the Heart Center Hamsters on Facebook.
About The Author
Jen Rittenhouse is the social media manager for MultiCare and Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. She writes stories that connect people with hospitals, health care and each other. You can reach her at [email protected].
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