Quit Playing With Dynamite!!!
What Should You and Your Friends & Family Do to Prevent the Risk of a Heart Attack???
It began a little over 7 years ago when my BoomerGuy went down with a massive heart attack. We were out hiking, and he collapsed without any warning or symptoms. Fortunately, our story is one of survival, the likes of which you will not witness in most cases, and one in which we will share in another upcoming February blog.
Did you know nearly half of all heart attacks occur without any symptoms
Suffice it to say, he is alive today because of the wonders of coincidence and expert care provided by his healthcare professionals and local hospitals. Due to the severe condition of his heart attack, called the widow-maker and having coded three times, he is considered in the 1% category for survival. That is a significant wake up call for anyone.
He now is an outspoken advocate for heart health and the numerous technologies available to reduce one’s overall risk of heart attack, and together we join in the march this February in raising awareness for everyone’s heart health.
“We tend to waste so much of our time doing unwanted things, just spare a few moments for the well-being of your heart”
His message is simple: it’s from experience. Listen to your primary care provider on matters surrounding diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and diet. Listen to your cardiologist on ways to prevent and manage cardiovascular risk, and lastly, take note of your bad habits and stop them.
He wrote Damar Hamlin following his recent cardiac episode on Monday Night Football. He encouraged the young athlete to recover at his own pace and to make his cardiologists his very best friends. He went on to say: 1) maximize everyday of your new life; 2) make time to look at sunrises and sunsets—they will appear more beautiful than ever; and 3) love your friends and family with everything you have—it will come back to you ten-fold.
77.5% of men and 75.4% of women ages 60-79 have some form of cardiovascular disease
We have witnessed over the past several decades a slight decline in deaths due to cardiovascular disease, until recently. The trend has reversed itself and it once again is the leading cause of death for Americans.
What’s causing this reversal. We’ve taken our eye off the ball and stopped looking in the mirror.
What to do about these startling statistics, it starts with you. It’s in your hands to take the time to learn about cardiovascular disease; it’s in your hands to change your behavior; and it’s in your hands to help reduce the risks of heart disease in your friends and family.
It’s all about lifestyle and what you want to make of it. It starts with YOU.
“I saw many people who had advanced heart disease and I was so frustrated because I knew if they just knew how to do the right things, simple lifestyle and diet steps, that the entire trajectory of their lives and health would have been different”
Mehmet Oz, M.D.
EXERCISE. It is the oldest of axioms. Yes, we all have a busy schedule, but there needs to be time set aside to push your body to new heights. If you continue to let the couch rule your life, expect the expected. You should get at least 30 minutes of brisk cardiovascular exercise 5 days a week. If you prefer, get into good sporting competition like pickle ball, water aerobics, bowling, biking (even a stationary bike). All of these can be done indoors at any time of the year, and outdoors, as well, so you can’t use weather as a deterrent.
DIET. How many times do you need to hear it—eat foods rich in protein, Omega-3 fats, vitamins A, C, E and K, fiber and antioxidants, all of which can also contribute to weight loss and a healthy digestive system. Please cut out the processed foods that only lead to clogged arteries and high salt intake.
“Let food by thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”
MEDICATIONS. Whatever you do, don’t skip your meds prescribed by your doctor(s). And make sure you get your refills.
SWEETS. I am as guilty as anyone with the occasional sweet tooth. And when it strikes me I like a small amount of dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) which is associated with helping to lower the risk of insulin resistance and high blood pressure in adults. Limit your sweets, especially those sodas and sugary drinks that do nothing but fill you with empty calories.
MEALS OUT. I bring this to your attention because of the overindulgence at our restaurants and fast-food joints. You don’t need to eat the whole meal. My BoomerGuy and I certainly don’t. We pack up at least half of the serving and bring it home for delicious leftovers. This not only helps the waistline, but the budget also spreading the cost over several meals, rather than just two.
BAD HABITS. What do I say other than “STOP THEM” don’t say “MAYBE.” You know what they are. Put an end to smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, not getting up and moving around, over medicating, diet pills, drug use, etc. As a benchmark, the self-help guru’s claim it takes a full 30 days to break a habit. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
SLEEP. You should be getting a good 6-8 hours per night.
WATER. Substitute your sugary drinks with good ol’ water. Keep the body hydrated especially during the winter when humidity levels are low and during and after your exercise routine. There’s a very good reason why you see football players taking fluids on the field and sidelines—they need to remain hydrated to stay at the top of their game.
FAMILY. Even children are becoming overweight. They don’t get enough exercise and their diets are full of processed and fast food as they get stuck behind their cell phones texting and playing video games. Help your kids and grandchildren focus on their diets, the same as you need to focus on yours. The holiday food fest is over, it’s time to get back on a well-prescribed program.
PASSION. You should look to a hobby or other activity for which you are passionate. Doing so will give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment. It will bring you happiness and joy of accomplishment to have completed a project, even if it’s just reading a book.
The bottom line, these should be trends and not just the flavor of the month.
There should be nothing stopping you from taking care of you, and those you love and cherish. Share this blog post with everyone you know, as we are sending good, positive thoughts your way.
Stay involved in your heart health and stay RELEVANT in all you do and who you are.
Your Number One BoomerGal, Connie.
Loma Linda University Health
American Heart Association