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February is American Heart Month.  A reason to pause and reflect on the health and resilience of your heart, a rather important yet often neglected organ.

There are many thoughts that arise when we think of the heart.  Emotions are one.  Gratitude and our ability, hopefully exercised regularly, and capacity for generosity, empathy and compassion.  The heart is considered by many cultures as the source of love.  Science is still confounded by the actions, and even source, of the human mind.  It is an anatomical curiosity that the nerve supply to the heart is indeed small considering the fact that nerve fibers originating in the heart and traveling back to the central nervous system greatly outnumber the efferent.  Perhaps what our heart is trying to tell us is either unheard or misinterpreted…or both!

Then there is the actual physiology and mechanical action of the heart.  The circulation of the blood and all that the blood transports.  Without this few pounds of lean muscle our life would end “in a heart beat”.  Much to study, ponder and be in awe about for sure!

I have studied for many years the importance of the circulatory system.  In light of the relationship between circulation, especially micro-circulation, to the health of the spine, in particular the spinal disc, we can only ignore the heart and circulatory matters at our peril.  Nitric oxide, the miracle molecule, is responsible in may ways for the success of the heart and its’ function.  What we eat, and how we eat it, determines to a great degree how available and functional nitric oxide is.  We either support healthy endothelial function or in our ignorance allow it to weaken…with potentially disastrous results.

Not all of us have the time or inclination to spend hours a day researching the physiological function of nitric oxide.  Yet the basic concepts are pretty simple.  Take some time this month of heart health to add a couple of facts to your knowledge of this little molecule and how your approach to health and wellness can give more life to your years!

As always, I am available to answer questions, speak at an event, or direct you to resources to enrich your knowledge on this subject.  And I am sure I will learn more in the process as well!

BE WELL and give your heart a hug this month!

Dr. Perry