After graduating from medical school from George Washington University in Washington, DC, Dr. Smith completed her residency at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, HI. She completed a fellowship in Cardiology at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. She is American Board Certified in Internal Medicine (2012), Cardiovascular Disease (2015), Echocardiography (2017), Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (2018), and Nuclear Cardiology (2019). She transitioned out of active duty service in the U.S. Army to join Wilmington Health in 2020 and is excited about serving the Wilmington community.
Dr. Smith is a dedicated mother and wife and enjoys running, scuba diving, and playing with her kids, who are avid readers. Dr. Smith is passionate about providing comprehensive cardiac care for the whole patient, focusing on the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Interviews & Articles
HEALTH WATCH: DON’T WAIT TO START PRACTICING SMART HEART HEALTH
By Stephanie Bowens StarNews Correspondent
Posted September 2, 2020
Experts recommend exercising, eating healthy and proactively addressing heart health while young
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and annually about 805,000 Americans have a heart attack. Heart health should be a priority, and making healthy choices early in life can improve heart health and help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Carin Smith, MD, FACC, a cardiologist at Wilmington Health, 1202 Medical Center Drive, Wilmington, provides comprehensive cardiac care and focuses on cardiovascular disease prevention. Smith encourages people to start taking care of their heart while they feel well instead of waiting until a problem is revealed.
“ldquo;The goal is to prevent the problem,” she said.
1) It’s beneficial to start taking steps to ensure good heart health early in life
Smith recommends exercising, eating healthy and proactively addressing heart health while young.
“As a parent I think it’s important to start teaching your kids when they are really little about what a healthy diet is and about getting physical exercise everyday,” she said. “You should start laying that foundation early.”
She said college age is also one of the best times to start paying attention to improving and protecting heart health.
“That’s when you establish your patterns as an adult,” Smith said. “There’s been studies that show atherosclerotic plaque building up in the aorta in patients as early as in their 20s, and that’s when atherosclerosis starts. Building healthy habits right from the start is the best way to maintain them.”
Still, Smith emphasizes it’s important for people of all ages to start actively taking care of their cardiovascular health. She wants people to be proactive about knowing their cholesterol and blood pressure numbers.
2) Cardio is especially good for the heart; adding resistance exercise helps, too
“Aerobic exercise, or cardio, has been proven over and over again to improve mortality and make people live longer, and it’s a treatment for hypertension and high cholesterol,” Smith said. “It improves the good cholesterol, our HDL levels, as well as (helps) prevent heart attacks … Even if you’re an elderly person and you have difficulty with balance or back pain, just doing a hand bike or a recumbent bike, anything that gets your heart rate up counts and helps exercise the heart.”
Smith said benefits of anaerobic exercise on heart health has gained attention.
“We have sort of ignored resistance exercise or anaerobic exercise in cardiology for many years, and there is now more mounting evidence that weightlifting actually is beneficial for you,” she said. “But it does pale in comparison to the benefits you get from aerobic exercise.”
While it hasn’t been proven to make people live longer like aerobic exercise, Smith said weightlifting also improves high blood pressure, increases muscle mass which helps a person maintain weight loss by boosting metabolism, and helps diabetics lower blood sugars.
3) Increasing heart rate is key to an effective cardio exercise for good heart health
“Any activity that gets your heart rate up for a sustained period of time will give you benefit,” Smith said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re swimming, running, jogging, are on the elliptical or playing tennis. Any activity that doesn’t hurt you and ideally that’s enjoyable will give you the same benefit from a cardiac perspective.”
By getting your heart rate up for a sustained period, cardio helps the heart develop efficiency.
“Although it’s a stress while you’re doing it, it helps (your heart) to handle stress in the future,” she said.
For adults, the CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week and doing muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week. Smith said people who haven’t reached the recommended level of exercise still benefit from exercising and physical activity.
“Every little bit counts,” she said. “Find a way to get in physical activity that’s fun.”
4) A heart healthy diet can prolong your life
Smith said the American College of Cardiology recommends a plant-based diet or a Mediterranean diet. She described a heart healthy diet as a “balanced, nutrient-rich diet, with fruit, nuts and vegetables, high-fiber foods and lean protein.”
She said folks can have animal protein, preferably fish, but should limit red meat and choose meats with lower cholesterol, such as white meat chicken and avoid fatty, fried foods.
Smith also recommends whole greens and avoiding simple carbohydrates, such as processed foods and sugary foods and drinks. She said choose more fresh and frozen foods, complex carbohydrates, and replace potatoes and corn with non-starchy vegetables. Smith said such a healthy diet helps people live longer.
5) Smoking is harmful to the heart and being sedentary is unhealthy
Smith said people should avoid nicotine.
“Smoking nicotine of any kind is terrible for your heart and your cardiovascular system,” she said. “I think that’s the worst thing you can do for your heart. The vaping trend is not really any better. People have a false sense of safety because they think it’s not a cigarette, but the nicotine in it still causes the same damage that the nicotine in a cigarette does.
“Living a sedentary lifestyle is the new villain for our heart health out there,. “Being more active during the day, even if you’re not doing a directed exercise program, still helps and has benefits.”
Dr. Smith is a valued member of our cardiology team. Board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease, Echocardiography, Cardiovascular Computed Tomography, and Nuclear Cardiology, Carin is focused on providing top level care for all patients.
Our patient satisfaction surveys help us identify areas of improvement to work toward providing you with the best healthcare in the area. Patient satisfaction, along with increasing the quality of care delivered and reducing healthcare costs, are the three organizational objectives we focus on each and every day.
Provider Specific Scores
6. How would you rate how well this provider communicates? (easy to understand, listens carefully to you, shows respect for what you had to say, sensitivity, friendliness)4.88 out of 5
7. Using a number from 1 to 5, where 5 is the best provider possible and 1 is the worst provider possible, what number would you use to rate this provider?4.69 out of 5
How does Carin Smith compare?
|1. How would you rate getting an appointment as soon as you needed?||4.02|
|2. When you contact the office, how would you rate getting the help or advice you need?||3.96|
|3. How would you rate the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff?||4.16|
|4. How would you rate the comfort and cleanliness of the waiting area? (How neat, comfortable, pleasant was the waiting room)||4.33|
|5. Wait time includes the time you spend in the waiting area and the exam room before you see your provider. How would you rate the amount of time that you had to wait to see the provider?||3.55|
|6. How would you rate how well this provider communicates? (easy to understand, listens carefully to you, shows respect for what you had to say, sensitivity, friendliness)||4.88|
|7. Using a number from 1 to 5, where 5 is the best provider possible and 1 is the worst provider possible, what number would you use to rate this provider?||4.69|
|8. When this provider orders a blood test, x-ray, or other test for you, how would you rate how well this provider’s office follows up to give you those results?||3.90|
|9. How would you rate how easy it is to get appointments with specialists?||3.73|
|10. Considering all aspects of the office, would you say that you are: completely satisfied, very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?||4.24|