A heart attack occurs every 43 seconds in America. That’s a scary statistic. And a maddening one, as well, considering how much more educated we’ve become about risk factors and early warning signs.
Yet we know as well as anyone how easy it can be to neglect one’s health. There is so much to worry about and do every day. You’ve got work, a home, a job, kids, grandkids, a community, and myriad other responsibilities. Too many of us put ourselves last, and that can come with terrible consequences. You don’t want to die a sudden death, leaving your loved ones grieving and wondering why. You don’t want to miss the third act, a time of leisure, a time to bask in all you have done and perhaps create something all new. What are you going to do to stave off cardiovascular disease? First you need to know the risk factors and symptoms.
While there are some risk factors that cannot be controlled: sex, race, family history, there is a lot you can do to mitigate the risk of a heart attack.
Take action. There’s no way around it. You need to curb bad habits and adopt positive lifestyle changes. If you smoke, please quit. Talk to your healthcare professional about the best options for you. Consider your diet and exercise routine. Do you need to lose a significant amount of weight? Are you obese or pre-diabetic? Do a quick intake and keep a journal, if necessary, of your daily habits. Try to be objective and reasonable. Set goals that you can meet!
The way that you eat can make all the difference in how you look and feel. We all should be consuming more real food, “whole foods” in the parlance of nutritionists. Did it come from a tree or plant? Was it minimally processed? Is it organic? These are questions you should be asking yourself. Most Americans should be eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer fast food or snack items. Look at the label. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. A heart-healthy diet can be easily researched and prescribed.
If you want to improve heart and lung function, you need to get moving! Find a fitness style you love – that can be walking, dancing, or tennis. It can be a solitary activity or something you do with a group. It should include light weight training and aerobic exercise. Of course, it’s important to consult your doctor before making any major changes, but start thinking right now about what brings you joy. Get a bike. Take a hike. Start skiing or swimming or try yoga.
Blood pressure and cholesterol levels are measurable and knowable. You can address these with prescription medications or through making changes to what you consume and how much you move your body. More than 50 million individuals in the US have high blood pressure; hypertension is a real risk factor that can predict a cardiac event. Eliminating salt from the diet is one straightforward recommendation. But there are other things you can do. Make your health a priority in your life, so you don’t miss the good stuff that’s ahead.
Typical symptoms of heart disease can include lightheadedness, chest pain, and shortness of breath. You may also experience fever, weakness or numbness in your extremities, and irregular heartbeat. Almost half of all heart attacks are “silent,” meaning there are no early warning signs that one can detect. You need to be vigilant and preemptive. You need to know more and do more to prevent and treat the effects of aging. Be heart smart and start talking.
Aging well is what we do. It’s who we are. We believe that you can live well long into your retirement years. Maybe you don’t plan to ever retire! Or perhaps a round the world trip is your dream and reward for a life well lived. We want to help you plan to live a long life of passion, vitality and health. Call for a consultation with Evolved Medical today.