Heart Disease – It’s Your Choice

Heart disease is the #1 killer in the United States today. This may not be a surprise to many of you. What may surprise you is that a heart attack is avoidable in many cases. Unfortunately heart defects do not fall into this category and can not be prevented but you can take actions to prevent much of the heart disease that causes heart attacks.

Through quick response and education most heart attacks are not fatal. 75% of men and 60% of women survive and continue living at least a year. Still it has been reported that 150,000 people die each year of heart attacks.

Heart attacks occur more frequently in the morning hours. This is because the blood platelets are especially sticky and more prone to clots. The average age of heart attack victims is 66 for men and 70 for women. The risk increases for men after the age of 45 and for women after the age of 55. Now I don’t want all the women reading this report to wave it in the face of their favorite man quite yet because men that survive a heart attack usually live longer than women that survive an attack.

Enough of the gruesome facts, let’s get on to how it is our choice. What can we do to prevent missing lunch or worse, the rest of our lives? There are three things within our control that play a big part in the likelihood of suffering a heart attack.

  1. Weight
  2. Diet
  3. Fitness

Control your weight.

It has been a long known fact that obesity increases a person’s risk of heart disease. Something that has just recently been discovered is that waist size plays a bigger role in a person’s risk than BMI (body mass index). Lopez-Jimenez and his colleagues from the Mayo Clinic tested nearly 16,000 heart patients who participated in one of four previously conducted studies. More than one-third of the patients died during the studies, which ranged in length from six months to more than seven years. They found that people with a high BMI had a 35% greater chance of survival than those with a larger waist size. When a high BMI was coupled with a large waist the chance of survival was cut in half. So, what’s the choice? Decrease your waist size or increase your risk of heart attack.

Control your diet

Both quality and quantity of the foods you consume are vital in keeping your arteries fit and functioning. The quality of your consumption will keep your arteries clean and let blood flow smoothly. When you eat too many foods that are too high in saturated fats you increase your risk of building up cholesterol plaque. Most of us are aware that we have two kinds of cholesterol the “good”, HDL, and the “bad”, LDL. Let me help you understand the difference.. To put it as simply as I can, LDL is considered bad because it carries the cholesterol to the cell and if it carries to much, or more than the cell can use the LDL just hangs around and builds up into plaque. HDL gets the good reputation because it carries the cholesterol away from the cell back to the liver to be broken down or eliminated from the body as waste. So, what’s the choice? Increase your HDL and decrease your LDL or increase your risk of heart attack.

Control your fitness

Your heart is just like any other muscle in your body. If you don’t use it you lose it. You have heard it time and time again. All it takes is 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 to 4 times a week. With obesity and heart attack stealing our lives at an amazing rate it is time to fight back. Get that heart pumping. Aerobic exercise does not mean running marathons. It does not mean fitness club fees. You could drastically reduce your risk of heart attack and heart disease simply by taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood 3 or 4 times a week. If you don’t currently get much exercise you should start slowly and work yourself up to walking a mile and a half in 30 to 35 minutes. Of course you want to check with your Dr. before making any changes to your diet or fitness program. You have your car checked for road worthy before any long trip, don’t you? So what’s the choice? Increase your heart rate three to four times a week or increase your risk of heart attack.

So you see, the choice truly is yours. When you take control of your weight, your diet and your fitness, you take control of your life.