Several years ago, I experienced a watershed moment in my heart health. I’d just returned from out-of-town visits with my family. My aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary was celebrated. What a fantastic achievement and milestone!
This event made me consider family, longevity, and the future. According to statistics, nearly a million Americans – 920,000 in total – will suffer a heart attack in the coming year. Worse, not all of them will have shown any signs of impending danger.
Obviously, everyone’s health situation is unique, and nothing I say in this article should be construed as medical advice. That being said, I hope the statistics and general ideas for living a healthier life in the following sections provide you with plenty to discuss with your doctor during your next visit.
It’s Time to Pay Attention to Heart Health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Heart disease, strokes, and other cardiovascular disorders claim the lives of 800,000 Americans each year. This issue is not exclusive to the United States. The American Heart Association has compiled figures from over 190 countries for the first time. What were the outcomes?
With 17.3 million deaths each year, heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Furthermore, stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide.
3 Heart Disease Facts to Be Afraid Of
Do you know what the most prevalent heart disease symptom is? Death came unexpectedly. Now, I’ve always considered a symptom to be a warning sign that could prompt me to take action… After death, however, there is no action.
This is especially unfortunate when you know that over 80% of heart disease can be avoided by making lifestyle and dietary changes.
What is the third fact? According to a study published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Americans between the ages of 30 and 74 have hearts that have outlived their chronological years.
So, here’s a rundown of what we know so far.
Sudden death is the most common indication of heart disease. Heart disease can be avoided in most cases. Thank you so much, most of us believe we are perfectly alright. The frightening reality is that many of us (including me) have hearts that are older than we are!
Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Understanding the risk factors for heart disease is, in many respects, the key to prevention.
Indeed, experts were astounded by the power of a healthy lifestyle, noting:
“It’s hardly surprising that good lifestyle choices result in fewer heart attacks… What’s remarkable is how much the danger decreased as a result of these things. Unfortunately, the majority of individuals are oblivious to the positive effects that healthy lifestyles may have on their lives. Men aged 45 to 79, for example, were included in one study… Only 1% of them participated in all five “low-risk” habits that could help them avoid a heart attack.”
These Healthy Lifestyle Changes Could Save Your Life
Maintain a healthy diet. Avoid foods high in fat, salt, sugar, and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). Bad cholesterol helps to form plaque, which is a thick, hard deposit that can clog blood vessels and make them less flexible.
Increase your level of physical activity. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that you exercise for 30 minutes five days a week to improve your heart health and lower your risk of heart disease. Make 30 minutes a day the absolute minimum!
If necessary, reduce your weight. A healthy waist circumference is one that is less than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.
Limit alcohol consumption to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
Simply put, quit smoking. Get assistance if necessary, but just do it.
Here are some pointers for breaking bad habits after the age of 60.
Functional Age vs. True Age
Did you know that your functional age differs from your chronological age and that this affects your heart health?
Your REAL age is your functional age. It reflects your overall physical ability to perform daily tasks such as gardening, carrying your one-year-old grandchild, and doing housework. Some people our age can literally run circles around us; their functional age is most likely lower than their true age.
Others, who may be our true age, are unable to walk to the store or ride their bike for a mile or two. These women most likely have a functional age that is several years older than their true age.
The bottom line is that the choices we make now about our fitness, diet, and habits matter! Realizing how much power we have over our health is empowering. Here’s to a prosperous future!