Health & Wellness by Ryan Baker, M.D.

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HEALTH & WELLNESS: Preventing Heart Disease
Health & Wellness by Ryan Baker, M.D.

No Excuses When it Comes to Preventing Heart Disease

February is American Heart Month, so I’ll take this opportunity to remind you that prevention really is the key to heart health. From a primary care perspective, I like to say that the best heart attack is one that never happens.

Everyone has heard the top heart disease prevention tips: quit smoking, lose weight, manage your blood pressure and cholesterol, eat right, and exercise regularly. But you can do one simple thing today, right now, that will dramatically increase your cardiovascular health and decrease your risk of a heart attack: make an appointment with your primary care provider for an annual wellness visit.

I hear the excuses every day, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t feel sick, it doesn’t matter if you don’t think you have any symptoms. The fact is, more often than not the first symptom of heart disease or blockage is a heart attack.

The main purpose of an annual wellness exam is to go over with your doctor all the preventive steps you can take. Let’s prevent it upfront instead of having to treat it after you’re sick. The annual visit will help your primary care doctor develop or update a prevention plan just for you, based on your health and risk factors.

Again, no excuses! It doesn’t matter if you had an annual wellness exam last year, you need to do it every year. Your health is dynamic, it’s ever-changing, so an annual wellness visit helps your primary care doctor identify any issues right upfront, and then we have a whole year to address them if needed. The good news is, if we do identify any issues, they’re usually very easily treated, especially the earlier they’re identified. Everything we do as primary care physicians is about risk stratification, which means reducing your risk of heart attacks, strokes, cardiovascular disease, and other potentially life-threatening conditions because I don’t want you to have a heart attack. Once you have a heart attack, you’re at risk for heart failure or death and your quality of life goes down.

The choices you make now will determine what kind of 70- or 80- year-old you’ll be. So, get in to see your primary care doctor, and listen to what he says. No excuses.

About Millennium Physician Group:

Millennium Physician Group is the largest comprehensive, independent physician group in Florida with more than 500 healthcare providers at 130 locations in 17 Florida counties serving 450,000 patients. Learn more at

Dr. Ryan Baker / Millennium Physician Group
2299 9th Ave N, Suite 1A, St. Petersburg, FL 33713

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