A 59 year old woman comes into my office one month after her bypass surgery still recovering from her surgical wounds. She is happy to be alive but breaks down in tears, and asks how she wants to make sure she never has to go through this experience again.
A 42 year old man has an appointment to see me 2 weeks after his first heart attack. He is smiling through most of the interview until the end of the visit. Then he tells me he can’t sleep at night because he is scared of his next heart attack. He tells me he has 4 kids and wants to be there for them.
A 33 year old man comes in for a checkup because so far all his male family members have died before age 50. He is planning to get married and wants to know how he can avoid the same end.
As you can tell this is a recurring theme for me. We all want to prevent heart disease. It is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. It kills more people than all forms of cancer combined. The good news is that it is largely preventable (>80%) from simple life style changes.
These changes need to be incorporated by all at every stage in their lives. From making lunches for our kids, teaching them healthy ways of thinking and providing them opportunities for physical activity to taking care of ourselves and our parents. It is not just diet and exercise equally important for our bodies is taking care of our emotional well being.
The American College of Cardiology has come up with 7 simple steps to a healthy heart which I think summarizes it all.
1. Being spiritually active
2. Taking charge of blood pressure
3. Controlling cholesterol
4. Tracking blood sugar and maintaining ideal body weight
5. Enjoying regular exercise, following a sensible diet and getting a good nights sleep
6. Not smoking
7. Getting regular check ups and being faithful with your medicines
The next few blogs will discuss how to make these changes in your daily life.