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Cardiologist says diet exercise are the best medicine to ward off heart disease

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The old adage &8220;an apple a day keeps the doctor away,&8221; may be true, but cardiologist Dr. John Mantle said the best way to stave off visits to the physician is proper diet, exercising and avoiding smoking.

While this may not be new information, Mantle spoke about these factors and how they affect both men and women&8217;s ability to deal with heart disease at Friday&8217;s Lunch and Learn program at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital.

While some people are prone to certain conditions because of their genes, Mantle said there are things people can do to lessen the impact of hereditary conditions like high blood pressure.

One of the basic things a person can do is to keep up a proper diet, one high in whole grains and vegetables, and avoids foods with high saturated fat contents. Mantle also recommended chicken, turkey and fish as good sources of protein that are low in fat and cholesterol.

Mantle, who splits his time between BWWMH and his office in Tuscaloosa, also talked about common treatments for heart conditions. Drugs known as beta blockers decrease the heart rate and cardiac output, which lowers blood pressure. Another common treatment is an Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme, or ACE, inhibitor. Ace inhibitors work by expanding blood vessels to decrease resistance and allow blood to flow more easily.

Mantle also touched on some unique challenges that face different groups of people in terms of heart disease. For example, the number of women taking birth control pills has increased significantly, and these drugs have been linked to high blood pressure.

But the good news, according to Mantle, is the numbers of drastic heart surgeries such as heart transplants have gone down as people find more preventive ways to deal with hear conditions.