Keep Your Ticker Tocking
As if Living With HIV Isn't Enough, It's Becoming Increasingly Clear That HIV-Positive People Have a Higher Risk of Heart Disease; Fortunately, There Are Many Things You Can Do to Keep Your Heart Healthy
Dr. Julian Falutz, director of the HIV Metabolic Centre at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, tells his patients: "You can get the most bang for your buck by quitting smoking. Also, find simple ways to be more active in your daily life. Park your car farther away from where you're going. Stop taking the elevator -- climb the stairs instead. ... You get the idea."
After three months of doing this, you may notice a change: lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, improved energy, weight loss. The key is to keep it up. Falutz notes that the temptation is to think after a few months: "I've done it. I kicked the habit: I've quit smoking. I can have one cigarette." Don't. Keep it up. The same goes for other lifestyle changes, too.
To empower his patients, Falutz points out that they've taken pills (ART) every day -- in some cases, for decades -- to keep their viral load undetectable. That takes commitment, work and discipline. "Don't short-change yourself. You can do it."
Debbie Koenig is a writer/editor at CATIE. This article is based on a CATIE fact sheet written by CATIE science and medicine editor Sean Hosein.
This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. It is a part of the publication The Positive Side. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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