What if I told you that you might have the power to avoid the number-one cause of death and disability for both men and women?

What if I then told you it was as simple as making some lifestyle changes?

You guessed it – you DO have that power and it IS that simple.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), including coronary heart disease, are the leading causes of death and disability in the entire world. Each year, more than 17 million people die from CVD. More than 13 million of those deaths are from heart attacks or strokes.

But on World Heart Day, September 29, individuals and communities across the globe are dedicating themselves to making a change.

Controlling risk factors for heart attack and stroke can be fairly easy for most people. Many can prolong and improve the quality of their lives by following these basic rules:

  1. Eat healthy and keep a healthy weight. You don’t need to be "skinny," that isn’t necessarily healthy either, you just need to be in a healthy weight range and eating the right foods (lean meats, whole grains, etc.) to stay there. If you’re not sure what your healthy weight range is, check your body mass index (BMI) or, even better, talk to your doctor about it.
  2. Get 30 minutes of activity a day. Whether it’s playing outside with the kids, doing chores in the house like vacuuming, riding a bike or going to the gym – get regular exercise. Exercise is going to have the bonus benefits of relieving stress and controlling your weight.
  3. Stop smoking or, if you don’t smoke, stay away from secondhand smoke. You can literally reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by half and return your heart to „normal” just by getting away from this bad habit.

Changing your life to prevent CVD isn’t just about you – your kids are watching everything you do and learning from it. An estimated one third of American children are overweight or obese, and that’s definitely something you help manage by leading the way for your kids. If you’re pregnant and have CVD, it can contribute to your baby having CVD at birth or later in life – so do what you can now to get healthy, for both your own sake and your child’s.

Don’t make excuses. Talk to your doctor and make the lifestyle changes to get your heart on track.

For more information on heart health or for a free physician referral, please call TriStar MedLine® at 615-342-1919.