“The heart gets a lot of credit, and so it should. It keeps us alive by pumping oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the brain and the rest of our bodies. Without it we cannot survive.
We tell our loved ones, we love them with all our hearts… We believe things in our hearts… It’s funny how a vital organ has become a symbol for feelings and emotions and passion, but it has. It makes sense, though. The heart keeps our body alive and thus, we are able to love – and live – well.
Please ‘heart’ yourself and your loved ones by taking care of your vital organ! YOU are vital!”
– Dr Brandon Mahaffy
Summary: This article shows some staggering numbers on the prevalence of heart disease in our country. While there are some things we cannot prevent – like our genetics, for example, there are a lot of things we can do to afford ourselves healthier, longer lives.
How Midlife Heart Disease, the #1 Killer, can be Avoided
It is the size of a clenched fist, beats approximately 72 times a minute and is one of the most important organs in your body it’s the human heart. But with incredible endurance and life-sustaining responsibilities comes the likelihood for breakdowns, ranging in severity from transient to chronic and slow developing to sudden or even deadly.
And while heart disease is a widely known illness — and the leading cause of death in the United States — there are actually several different “types of heart disease” that fall under the classification of heart disease.
Heart disease, often referred to as cardiovascular disease, is defined as any condition that affects your heart. It is the number one worldwide killer of both men and women and takes approximately 2,500 American lives each day.
Breakdown and Prevalence of Types of Heart Disease
- High blood pressure: 73,600,000
- “Coronary heart disease”: 17,600,000
- Myocardial infarction (acute heart attack): 8,500,000
- Angina pectoris (chest pain or discomfort caused by reduced blood supply to the heart muscle): 10,200,000
- Stroke: 6,400,000
- Heart failure: 5,800,000
Can You Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease?
Many forms of heart disease can be prevented by following a healthy diet and making smart lifestyle choices, which we’ll detail shortly. However, there are two groups of risk factors: those that you can control and those out of your control due to genetic inheritance, infections and the natural aging process.
“What Causes Heart Disease?”
- Risk Factors Out of Your Control
- Male gender
- Older age
- Family history of heart disease
- Race (African Americans, American Indians, and Mexican Americans are in a higher risk bracket for heart disease than Caucasians)
Risk Factors You Can Control
- High LDL, or “bad” cholesterol and low HDL, or “good” cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Lack of exercise
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- High-C Reactive protein
- Uncontrolled stress and anger levels
You Can Lower Your Risk, Even in Middle Age and Beyond
Findings from a study in the American Journal of Medicine confirm that it’s never too late, even if you’re in your mid-40s to mid-60s, to start making healthy lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of developing heart disease, coronary heart disease, and any other type of heart disease.
At the beginning of the study only 8.5 percent of the middle-aged participants met all four criteria for healthy living:
- Eat at least five fruits and vegetables daily
- Walk or get other exercise for at least 2.5 hours weekly
- Keep BMI (body mass index) out of the obese range
- Don’t smoke
The 970 participants who decided to take on the challenge of incorporating all four healthy lifestyle changes were 40 percent less likely to die and 35 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those who didn’t make any lifestyle changes.
The Way to a Happy, Healthy Heart
The key to a healthy heart begins with taking responsibility for your body and your lifestyle choices. There are some proactive steps you can take to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle and reduce your risk of heart disease.
So start your journey now!
Infuse your life with energy and purpose, reduce stress and enjoy a lifestyle of fitness, accomplishment, personal balance and well-being you deserve!
Maintain a healthy weight through practicing good nutrition and exercise—Obesity puts a heavy strain on your heart and raises your risk factors for heart disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Manage your stress levels—Out of control stress levels can contribute to heart attacks and strokes. You can reduce your stress levels by practicing relaxation techniques such as listening to calming music or trying Tai Chi or yoga.
© 2012 Health Realizations, Inc.