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Are you at risk for heart disease?

Don’t automatically answer NO to this question and read on. Recently, a leading Coach in our community suffered a heart attack. He’s young, has a beautiful family, exercises and leads a healthy lifestyle. You would never think it would happen to someone like him. Think again. Or, if you’ve ever been into running, you may recall marathoner Alberto Salazar, who although he appeared healthy and fit, had a family history of coronary disease, and high blood pressure and high cholesterol, both of which were being controlled with medications, and still suffered a heart attack (he was dead for 14-minutes). Heart disease is very real. Many cardiac disorders can be inherited, including arrhythmias, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy, and high blood cholesterol. Coronary artery disease leading to heart attack, stroke, and heart failure can run in your family and you may not even be aware of it.

I know I’m at risk. Both my father and my great-grandfather passed away in their early fifties due to heart disease.  I am painfully aware of the risk not only for me but for my children as well. Furthermore, every year in the U.S. more women die of heart disease than of all types of cancer combined (it’s the Number 1 health risk for women). Unfortunately, many women don’t even realize that they are at risk and many think it is something that affects men more than women.

Heart Disease Facts

Here are a couple of statistics from the Centers for Disease Control you may not be aware of:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
  • About 630,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
  • Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing about 366,000 people in 2015.
  • In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds. Each minute, more than one person in the United States dies from a heart-related event.
  • Heart disease costs the United States about  $200 billion each year for health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

Prevention

Fortunately, there are some easy steps we can take for the prevention of heart issues. Your first line of defense? Be sure, once a year, every year, to get a full physical and bloodwork done. Then watch the numbers. Here are some other tips that can help you:

Lifestyle

  • Follow a heart-healthy diet. Check this article with some Healthy Heart Foods and include them in your daily diet.
  • Exercise 30-minutes a day at least five times a week (need ideas? Click here).
  • Know your family history.
  • Do not use tobacco products.
  • Manage your stress by using a form of reflection or meditation for 10-15min each day.
  • Want more tips? Click here to learn other positive prevention steps you can take.

Numbers You Should Know:

Blood Pressure
Have a goal of Less than 120/80mmHg

Body Mass Index BMI
Have a BMI with a goal of 18.5-24.9 percentage of body fat.

Other Numbers

  • Have your Blood sugar/glucose tested
  • Get a readout on your Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Your physician can help you with all these numbers that are helpful for tracking your health and to prevent and detect any issues.

Remember, investing in your health is the best investment you’ll ever make!