To find a physician or for questions   903-596-DOCS

Heart Healthy Lifestyle

Heart health is about more than just your heart. It’s about your lifestyle. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and according to the CDC, one person dies every 37 seconds from cardiovascular disease. Therefore, it’s important to know the signs and risk factors of heart disease.Nearly half of all Americans are at risk for heart disease. The most common risk factors include the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Family history

While not every cardiac event can be prevented, there are ways to lower your risk of heart disease. Click on the boxes below to learn more.

Did you know that 65% of people with diabetes die of a heart attack or stroke? Cardiovascular disease is the most common complication of type 2 diabetes. In the United States, an adult with diabetes is hospitalized for heart disease every 80 seconds. For adults over 60, type 2 diabetes combined with cardiovascular disease can shorten life expectancy by an average of 12 years. 

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It occurs when your body does not use the insulin it produces properly. Medication or insulin may be needed to manage type 2 diabetes, but a healthy diet and exercise are key components of treatment. Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even prevented. It’s important to know if you’re at risk.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes include:

  • Age, if over 45
  • Family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Lack of regular physical activity
  • High blood pressure
  • Low HDL cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes during pregnancy

Our Tyler and North Campus Tyler facilities offer diabetes education programs to help you learn how to manage your diabetes.

Diabetes University at UT Health Tyler is a referral based, outpatient diabetes education program. This program offers two separate services, in addition to individual instruction. Our team or your primary care provider can help you decide which is best for you based on your needs.

  • Diabetes education individual instruction only
    • Minimum of one 1-1.5 hour visit
    • Covers the meal planning, physical activity, diabetes medications and monitoring
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy 
    • Completely focused on the meal planning aspect of diabetes management
    • Minimum one 1-1.5 hour visit
    • This is a completely separate service from diabetes education
  • Complete Diabetes Education Program or Diabetes Education: 
    • One one-on-one session 
      • Meet one on one with your diabetes educator
      • Develop a diabetes treatment plan based on an assessment of your specific diabetes care needs
      • Set and plan to reach meaningful goals
    • One six-hour group class
      • Meal planning
      • Strategies for adding physical activity
      • Current medication therapies for diabetes
      • Adjusting your meal plan and medications based on blood sugar testing
      • Skills to prevent diabetes-related complications
      • Coping strategies for meeting the day-to-day challenges of having diabetes
      • New diabetes technologies

Empower Diabetes at UT Health North Campus Tyler is a free diabetes education program that occurs four times each year. This program provides information on self-management tools such as:

  • Meal planning
  • Glucose monitoring
  • Exercise
  • Medications
  • Insulin administration
  • Foot Care

Each program consists of four, two-hour sessions. For more information or to register, click here or call 903-877-8978.


In this interview from Feb. 2020, Dr. Charles Keith, discusses how your weight affects heart health.

As mentioned in other sections, weight plays in important role in heart health. Carrying extra weight puts extra stress on your heart, which can lead to cardiovascular diseases. 

Obesity is often linked to the following conditions that lead to a greater risk of heart failure.

  • High blood lipids
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Hypertension
  • Enlarged left ventricle
  • Some cancers
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis

The most common ways to assess your risk of obesity and heart disease are by your body mass index (BMI) and weight circumference. 

BMI is a formula that uses a person’s weight and height to determine the level of obesity. In most cases, BMI is calculated into the following classifications: 

BMI below 18.5 - Underweight

BMI between 18.5 - 24.9 - Normal weight

BMI between 25 - 29.9 - Overweight

BMI 30 and above - Obesity

In some cases, these classifications may vary based on a person’s lifestyle, such as for a professional athlete. 

Waist circumference is a good judge of abdominal fat, which is a risk of heart disease. This risk increases with a waist circumference over 40” for men and 35” for women.

In addition to providing fitness centers across the region, UT Health East Texas has two designated clinics to help you manage your weight loss.

Weight-Management Clinic

Dr. Ryan Menard practices in the weight-management clinic at UT Health North Campus Tyler. Dr. Menard is a board-certified family medicine and obesity medicine physician who strives to help his patients reach a healthy weight. During your visit at the weight-management clinic, Dr. Menard will cover many aspects related to weight including:

  • Dietary and activity assessment
  • Sleep and stress assessment
  • Body measurement/ratios
  • Cardiovascular and metabolic risk assessment
  • Cancer risk assessment related to weight
  • Family history and risk associated with excess weight
  • Laboratory metabolic profile
  • Medication assistance to help lose weight and improve health
  • Collaboration with registered dieticians, behavioral coaches/counselors, physical therapists and sleep specialists

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Menard, call 903-877-7200.


Tyler Bariatric Center

If other weight loss methods have not been effective, it might be time to consider bariatric surgery. The UT Health Tyler Bariatric Center offers specialized procedures, such as the gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, Lap Band and more. In addition to weight loss, these procedures can improve and in some cases resolve health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, joint pain and more. 

Bariatric surgery is performed by one of our two surgeons, Dr. Hugh Babineau and Dr. Charles Keith. Both are board-certified in general surgery and specialize in bariatrics. 

Deciding to get bariatric surgery is a very important and life changing decision. To find out if you’re a candidate, you’ll need to know your BMI. Typically, someone is a candidate if

  • Your BMI is 40 or greater
  • OR your BMI is 30 or greater and you have diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, or certain other medical conditions diagnosed by a physician.

Determining if you’re a candidate and which procedure is right for you will involve a consultation with one of our surgeons. Our goal is ultimately to help you get healthier. To learn more about the services offered at the Tyler Bariatric Center, read patient testimonials, see cash pricing and more, visit or call the office at 903-593-0230.


Staying active is one of the most important things you can do to prevent heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity per week, or 30 minutes per day, five days a week.

Even if you’re not able to do the full 150 minutes a week, start by just sitting less. Try to take small walks throughout the day. Even small amounts of physical activity are better than none. Gradually increasing the amount of time you spend and the intensity will improve results. 

Regular exercise will lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, but also benefits other areas of your health, helping you live a longer, healthier life. 

Benefits of staying active:

  • Lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and pregnancy complications
  • Improved brain activity, including memory, attention and processing speed
  • Less weight gain
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Better bone health and balance
  • Fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Better quality of life
  • Boosted energy levels
  • Help managing stress
  • Help quitting smoking

To help East Texans stay active, UT Health East Texas offers medically-integrated fitness centers across the region that are equipped with state-of-the-art fitness equipment, warm water pools, integrated group fitness programs and exercise programs catered to your individual needs.

The UT Health East Texas Olympic Center in Tyler is Texas’ first and only certified medical fitness center. This means that all programs are medically based under the supervision of a physician. In addition to the fitness center amenities, we also provide personal training, massage therapy, group fitness, aquatics and medical fitness programs, such as Exercise is Medicine and Lite-4-Life.

Exercise is Medicine is a program that allows you the opportunity to receive a free, two-week Olympic Center pass upon meeting with a degreed, certified exercise specialist for an initial fitness assessment, goal development and exercise prescription. 

Lite-4-Life is a 10-week program designed to approach weight loss through lifestyle and behavioral modifications. This program features personal training sessions, group nutrition classes, a consultation with a certified program coordinator and full-access membership to the UT Health East Texas Olympic Center.

Click here to learn more about our medical fitness programs.

To see the specific amenities and programs offered at each UT Health East Texas Olympic Center, click the locations below.

UT Health East Texas Olympic Center Cedar Creek Lake

UT Health East Texas Olympic Center Hideaway Lake

UT Health East Texas Olympic Center Jacksonville

UT Health East Texas Olympic Center Lake Palestine

UT Health East Texas Olympic Center Pittsburg

UT Health East Texas Olympic Center Tyler

UT Health Olympic Center Chandler

123 Highway 31 E. Chandler, TX 75758 | 903-849-4404

UT Health Olympic Center Mineola

1616 N. Pacific Mineola, TX 75773 | 903-569-0842

UT Health Olympic Center Rusk

1325 N. Dickinson Rusk, TX 75785 | 903-683-3555


Sleep is essential to your health, and lack of enough sleep can lead to serious health conditions, such as heart disease. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night, while kids need even more. Your body needs sleep to process, restore and strengthen. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body gets thrown off. This can affect your immune system, hormones and overall health and wellbeing. 

This is not just a problem for adults. Not getting enough sleep as a child or teenager can lead to health problems down the road. 

It’s important to stick to a sleep schedule with healthy habits and routines to keep your body at its best.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following tips for getting a good night's sleep:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual
  • Exercise daily
  • Evaluate your bedroom to ensure ideal temperature, sound and light
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Beware of hidden sleep stealers, like alcohol and caffeine
  • Turn off electronics before bed

The UT Health East Texas Sleep Disorders Center became the first sleep center in East Texas to receive program accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 2004.

Sleep disorders we commonly treat include:

  • Circadian Rhythm Disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Pregnancy and Sleep
  • Narcolepsy
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Nightmares
  • Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a very serious sleep disorder. This occurs when you stop breathing for at least 10 seconds during sleep. This can cause fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels. This can lead to many health problems, including hypertension, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Patients with sleep apnea often have problems with their heart. The fragmented sleep patterns keep your body from being able to lower your heart rate and blood pressure.

Symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Excessive snoring
  • Awaking with a headache
  • Awaking without feeling refreshed
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Waking up gasping for breath
  • Sudden body movements during sleep
  • Weight gain

For more information on sleep disorders, treatment options and clinic locations, click here or call 903-531-8079.