Doctor’s Note

Doctor: Dr. Jeff Paulsen
Specialty: Cardiology

Dr. Jeff Paulsen began his professional career watching the stock ticker as an investment banker, but the job felt out of sync with his ethos. Wanting to promote greater wellness for the community, he shifted his focus to medical school and a different sort of ticker. While Dr. Paulsen’s work may center on the heart, the Roper St. Francis Healthcare affiliated cardiologist views this primary organ as the cornerstone to whole-body health.

I wish my patients knew:
“They have more control over their health than they realize. Evidence shows the most impactful interventions involve dietary and lifestyle choices that patients can steer with some guidance. I act as an educator and conduit for information and resources.”

To boost heart health this season:
“Get out of the chair and raise your heart rate every day. Winter can bring about a hibernating bear effect in people, but inactivity drives unwellness, so find some exercise or activity that you can do during the colder months.”

As for holiday treats:
“It’s okay to indulge, just mind how much and how often. Those who live the longest and most well tend to eat less and less often. I rely on a plant-based diet with some lean meats and fish. Steer away from processed foods, sugar, red meat and starchy carbs.”

I often ask patients:
“How can we put you on the path toward wellness? What we’re trying to achieve is not heart health specifically but wellness. If you look at the Blue Zones, the areas of the world with extreme longevity, those people are not dying from heart disease. So what are they doing? That’s our jumping-off point.”

I recommend:
“The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung. For anyone who needs to lose weight or wants to understand metabolism, this book helps explain the science.”

And remember: “The heart is central to all mechanisms of the body. Coronary disease is a systemic inflammatory syndrome that can be managed, in large part, by diet and exercise.”