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NEWS | Feb. 28, 2018

Healthy habits key to heart wellbeing

By Airman 1st Class Monica Roybal 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The human body’s most powerful, hardest working muscle is the heart. Like any other muscle, the heart needs exercise to build strength and relieve extra effort the body may be experiencing from an unhealthy lifestyle.  

Langley Hospital and McDonald Army Health Center at Joint Base Langley-Eustis recognize American Heart Month in February as part of a year-round health observance campaign to empower service members and their families to take control and improve quality of life through a healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Bruce Timins, 633rd Medical Operations Squadron cardiologist, said healthy habits, big or small, are key to maintaining a strong heart.

“The most significant factor in heart health is obesity,” said Timins. “Most issues our patients have can be boiled down to not adjusting their diet to cater to a declining metabolism that comes naturally with age.”

Diet is essential when it comes to improving heart health, and Timins said it begins with education. Once a patient is diagnosed with heart disease related issues, they are scheduled to speak with a health manager for one-on-one care.

“I try to motivate patients to self-manage through personalized health plans,” said Carol Brown, 633rd Medical Group health manager. “We discuss the specifics of their diet and the importance of reading nutritional labels. I also educate them on the various health and diet classes we offer, as well as the exercise programs that are available.”

Perhaps the most important tips to take away from American Hearth Month are focused on preventative care. A proactive approach towards maintaining a healthy heart can help to avoid the stress of working to counteract damage that has been done, said Timins.

“You can’t do anything about family history, but certainly keeping your weight down and remaining physically active reduces the probability of heart disease,” said Timins. “A healthy lifestyle modifies risk factors like blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. These things have actually been proven to work over a period of time.”

While service members may focus on reaching short-term goals, like fitness levels, Timins recommends taking care of one’s heart by focusing on preventative care and long-term goals. 

“Think of your body as your car,” said Timins.  “You have your oil changed every six months. Walking around with high blood pressure is basically like not changing the oil. Parts wear out faster. If you don’t take care of it, it doesn’t last long.”

For more information about American Heart Month, visit