The leading cause of death for men and women and all races is also one of the most preventable. Heart disease is the primary killer of people over the age of 35. It used to be that heart disease or heart attacks were maladies of the “old”. If you heard someone had a heart attack you probably envisioned them to be over 70 years old, sickly and feeble. That is not the case anymore in the United States. Lifestyle has taken a toll on this country. Technology has allowed us to be more sedentary as we drive around or work at computers all day then come home and zone out in front of the television. Our bodies were made to move yet we get fewer and fewer opportunities to move as part of our daily routine.
Our food supply isn’t really food. It’s an onslaught of high-sodium, sugar-laden processed chemicals that has wreaked havoc on our bodies. That’s not to say that we should never ever eat processed foods, the issue is it has become our entire diet because it’s cheap and easy. Many people in this country want to eat real food but because it’s so expensive or they live in a food dessert they can’t get to it. And if something ails you the doctor prescribes a pill despite natural remedies that may have better and long-lasting results. While smoking is on the decline, it’s still a significant issue. It is the leading risk factor of all cardiovascular diseases such as aortic aneurysms and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) which can lead to lower limb amputations.
The lack of activity, processed foods and chemicals (medications, alcohol, cigarettes) has led to the epidemic of heart disease. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading risk factors of developing heart disease are being overweight or obese, diabetes, poor diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol use. About one in every four deaths is attributed to heart disease, that’s about 600,000 deaths per year. In the US someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. How many people will have had a heart attack by the time you finish reading this post? Heart disease alone costs the country $109B a year in medication, cost of treatment and loss of productivity. The most affected demographic in this country are racial minorities such as African-American and Hispanics. One quarter of African-Americans die from heart disease. Additionally, this problem is most prevalent in the southern states, the highest incidence being in Mississippi.
These numbers are astonishing. Unfortunately, studies show that people knowing the statistics doesn’t necessarily bring about a change in behavior. In the book,Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy Martin Lindstrom explores the reasons, despite warning labels on cigarettes, people still smoke. Anti-smoking campaigns have been more of a deterrent than a wake-up call. It’s not just about addiction. One of the contributing factors is that people tend to think it happens to others but not them. This may also apply to the risk of heart disease. People are being diagnosed with heart disease younger and younger. Heart attacks are occurring in 30-40 year olds, something previously unheard of. Some people may think it won’t happen to them, while others may lack information on how to prevent this disease. Another possibility is people may be unaware of their current health status.
How To Beat Heart Disease
Follow some simple steps to reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, PAD, etc.:
- Consult a physician – find out your current health status and know your numbers
- Move – get as much physical activity as you can, but consult a physician first. Try out new exercises if you’re bored or have never exercised before. No such thing as too busy. Three 30-minute walks a week has significant benefit.
- Eat right – put into your body everything it needs to work right. You need vitamins, minerals, fats, and water. You can get these through eating real food. Explore juicing fruits and vegetables to increase your intake. No, you don’t have to eliminate all processed foods from your diet but you do need to read the nutrition labels to know what you’re getting.
- Avoid soda, diet soda and artificial sweeteners, they aren’t helping you, in fact they may still contribute to weight gain
- Explore this website that has all sorts of posts on nutrition and exercise
Don’t be a statistic. Get a check up to find out your health status. Getting an annual physical or a comprehensive blood test is so simple and critical to identifying issues early. If you have any of the risk factors, begin addressing those immediately. You can be overweight and be healthy, but assume nothing. Get that confirmed by a comprehensive screening. Share this post with someone you love.
REAL TALK | REAL THINGS | REAL RESULTS