Are You A Statistic?
Heart disease is still the leading cause of death worldwide according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC estimates that nearly half of these deaths were preventable. The World Health Organization goes even further and suggests that 80% of premature heart attacks and strokes were preventable. What can you do to reduce YOUR risks and avoid being one of these statistics?
First Identify Your Risk Factors
In an effort to extend your life for weeks, months or possibly years to spend more time with your family, follow the advice of the experts, the CDC, the American Heart Association, and the World Health Organization and identify those risks in your life and correct those that can be controlled. If you eliminate or reduce your risks, you increase your odds of avoiding heart disease.
Start with the 5 Controllable Risk Factors
High Blood Pressure
Eighty percent of Americans have one or more of these risk factors.
Manage Your Risk Factors
- Follow a healthy diet. A balanced, high in fiber plant based diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, combined with a moderate amount of lean proteins and healthy fatty acids. Limit your added sugar, sodium (salt) and saturated fats and avoid processed, prepackaged fast foods and foods prepared (fried) in Trans fats. Those burgers, fries and pepperoni pizzas may taste good today, but they will not help you live longer years down the road. Think about everything you eat and make more natural, healthier choices.
- Get more exercise. Moderate, regular exercise can prevent obesity, lower your blood pressure, and help avoid type 2 diabetes. As little as 20-30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise at least 3-5 times each week, like walking, running, swimming will get your heart pumping. Your heart is a muscle and will become stronger and more efficient as you exercise. Physical activity and fitness reduce your risk of heart problems, help you lose weight, stabilizes blood sugar and insulin levels, and reduces high blood pressure.
- Stop smoking. Smoking DOUBLES your risk of heart disease and stroke. It will be one of the most difficult things you have ever done, but you when you stop smoking, you will experience immediate health benefits. According to the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative, your health starts to improve in as little as 12 hours as the carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal. After 5 years smoke-free, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker. After 15 years, your risk of coronary heart disease equals that of a non smoker.
- Avoid stress. Stress and depression contribute to nearly 30% of heart attacks. Exercise will help reduce your stress level, as will yoga and meditation. Learn methods to avoid or manage your stress and in turn, avoid stress eating, emotional eating or heart disease.