Palmetto Endocrinology February 2024 Newsletter

Woman with neon heart above

February is American Heart Month!


American Heart Month is a time when all people are encouraged to focus on their cardiovascular health with the goal to reduce the risk of heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. About 695,000 people in the United States died from heart disease in 2021—that’s 1 in every 5 deaths.

In people with heart disease, the arteries that supply blood to the heart get clogged with fatty deposits. This increases the risk of heart attack and other heart problems. Heart disease is also called "coronary artery disease."  Health conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease can increase your risk of developing heart disease. Your risk is higher if you smoke, eat a diet that is high in fatty meat, sugar, and fats, and low in fruits and vegetables. You are also at higher risk if you do not get regular physical activity, are obese, have depression or high stress levels, or have a parent or sibling with heart disease.

To reduce your risk of developing heart disease, quit smoking, if you smoke – If you are having trouble quitting, your health care provider can help. Eat a healthy diet consisting of a lot of fruit, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Do not eat a lot of fatty meats, sweets, or refined grains. Limit alcohol (females, no more than 1 drink a day and males, no more than 2 drinks a day). Exercise at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week. Even gentle forms of exercise, like walking or gardening, are good for your health. It is important to keep a healthy body weight and manage stress.


Make a point to discuss your risk of heart disease with your provider for proper identification and treatment. If you are prescribed medications to help manage your cholesterol, blood pressure, or blood sugar, take them consistently to reduce your risk.


Recipe of the Month: Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps



  1. Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat until oil is very hot. Add ground chicken and cook until no longer pink and starts to brown, break it up with a wooden spoon as necessary. Should take about 3 minutes.
  2. Add red curry paste, ginger, garlic, peppers, coleslaw mix, and stir-fry for another 3 minutes. Add hoisin sauce and green onions, and toss. Remove from heat then add basil and toss. Transfer cooked chicken to a bowl.
  3. Serve by placing spoonsful of chicken into pieces of lettuce, fold lettuce over like small tacos, and eat.


Activity Challenge of the Month: For optimal heart health, moderate aerobic exercise is recommended for at least 150 minutes per week. Try brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, playing tennis or pickleball or jumping rope to fulfill the weekly exercise goal!

Dawn Wolak, MSN, APRN, ANP-C Dawn Wolak, MSN, APRN, ANP-C Dawn Wolak joins our team as Dr. Mathews' Nurse Practitioner. She attended Clemson University where she attained her bachelor's degree in Nursing. She went on to attend the Medical University of South Carolina where she underwent rigorous medical training to obtain her master’s degree in Nursing and become certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner. Afterwards, she underwent additional training with Dr. Mathews to become an expert in endocrine disorders. She works closely with the Palmetto Endocrine team to provide consistent, informed care for our patients at all times.

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