How Midlife Heart Disease, the #1 Killer, can be Avoided
It is the size of a clenched fist, beats approximately 72 times a minute and is one of the most important organs in your body it’s the human heart. But with incredible endurance and life-sustaining responsibilities comes the likelihood for breakdowns, ranging in severity from transient to chronic and slow developing to sudden or even deadly.
Don’t let middle-age heart disease slow you down! Take the steps below to prevent this common illness before it ever begins.
And while heart disease is a widely known illness — and the leading cause of death in the United States — there are actually several different “types of heart disease” that fall under the classification of heart disease.
Heart disease, often referred to as cardiovascular disease, is defined as any condition that affects your heart. It is the number one worldwide killer of both men and women and takes approximately 2,500 American lives each day.
Breakdown and Prevalence of Types of Heart Disease
- High blood pressure: 73,600,000
- “Coronary heart disease”: 17,600,000
- Myocardial infarction (acute heart attack): 8,500,000
- Angina pectoris (chest pain or discomfort caused by reduced blood supply to the heart muscle): 10,200,000
- Stroke: 6,400,000
- Heart failure: 5,800,000
Can You Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease?
Many forms of heart disease can be prevented by following a healthy diet and making smart lifestyle choices, which we’ll detail shortly. However, there are two groups of risk factors: those that you can control and those out of your control due to genetic inheritance, infections and the natural aging process.
“What Causes Heart Disease?”
Risk Factors Out of Your Control
- Male gender
- Older age
- Family history of heart disease
- Race (African Americans, American Indians, and Mexican Americans are in a higher risk bracket for heart disease than Caucasians)
Risk Factors You Can Control
- High LDL, or “bad” cholesterol and low HDL, or “good” cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Lack of exercise
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- High-C Reactive protein
- Uncontrolled stress and anger levels
You Can Lower Your Risk, Even in Middle Age and Beyond
Findings from a study in the American Journal of Medicine confirm that it’s never too late, even if you’re in your mid-40s to mid-60s, to start making healthy lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of developing heart disease, coronary heart disease, and any other type of heart disease.
At the beginning of the study only 8.5 percent of the middle-aged participants met all four criteria for healthy living:
- Eat at least five fruits and vegetables daily
- Walk or get other exercise for at least 2.5 hours weekly
- Keep BMI (body mass index) out of the obese range
- Don’t smoke
The 970 participants who decided to take on the challenge of incorporating all four healthy lifestyle changes were 40 percent less likely to die and 35 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those who didn’t make any lifestyle changes.
The Way to a Happy, Healthy Heart
The key to a healthy heart begins with taking responsibility for your body and your lifestyle choices. There are some proactive steps you can take to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle and reduce your risk of heart disease.
6-Step Plan to a Healthy Heart and Vibrant Life
- Quit smoking—Smokers face double the risk of suffering a heart attack than non-smokers. If you smoke, make a commitment to yourself to quit, as smoking is one of the most preventable risk factors for heart disease.
- Make healthy food choices—Eating a heart-healthy diet is one of the biggest lines of defense against cardiovascular disease. Add fresh vegetables, fruits, whole-grain and high-fiber foods and low-mercury fish to your diet and stay away from foods high in salt, unhealthy fats and refined sugars.
Once you start adding more fruits and veggies to your diet, you can help maximize nutrient absorption from these nutrient-rich foods by using the plant-based enzyme supplement, which you should ask your Doctor what is recommended specifically for you.
Add More Healthy Fruits and Veggies to Your Meals!
- Lower your high blood pressure levels—Along with maintaining a healthy diet, get out and start exercising to lower your negative numbers.
Ideally, your blood pressure reading should be less than 120/80 mmHg. Ask your practitioner about possible natural support for normalizing blood pressure including an array of nutrients and herbs that naturally support blood pressure, vascular tone and cardiovascular health.
- Get out of the house and exercise every day—People who lead sedentary lifestyles are at higher risk of death and heart disease compared to those who make a point of getting mild to moderate amounts of exercise.
Aim for 30 minutes of exercise each day to reap the benefits. Some ideas for a good aerobic workout that target the large muscle groups include cycling, swimming, jumping rope and jogging. If you enjoy walking, pick up a pedometer and shoot for 10,000 steps a day.
If it’s been a while since you exercised and you are unsure of how to start up again, you can get some good direction by first reading this past article How to Most Effectively Start Working Out When You Haven’t Exercied in Years. It contains nine great tips to get you moving.
Next, if you’re not sure what type of exercise would best suit you, try using a personal trainer. He or she can educate you on a variety of workout routines designed to meet your individual fitness goals.
So start your journey now!
Infuse your life with energy and purpose, reduce stress and enjoy a lifestyle of fitness, accomplishment, personal balance and well-being you deserve!
Start Your Heart-Healthy Lifestyle by Nourishing Your Mind-Body Connection
Add in practical exercise tools to get into shape and then kick it to ever higher levels weekly and monthly at the rate you are most comfortable.
- Maintain a healthy weight through practicing good nutrition and exercise—Obesity puts a heavy strain on your heart and raises your risk factors for heart disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Manage your stress levels—Out of control stress levels can contribute to heart attacks and strokes.
You can reduce your stress levels by practicing relaxation techniques such as listening to calming music or trying Tai Chi or yoga.
American Journal of Medicine;122(6):528-34.
American Heart Association: ABCs of Preventing Heart Disease, Stroke and Heart Attack
American Heart Association: Cardiovascular Disease Statistics