Taking care of their heart’s health is not on most people’s mind – at least not until they run into problems. But when disaster strikes − like a heart attack at middle age − and there is a serious brush with loss of health and perhaps life itself, we realize the importance of keeping our heart healthy. By then it may be too late. It doesn’t have to come this far.
Most Forms of Heart Disease
Are Lifestyle-Related and Can Be Prevented
In a way, our bodies are designed to keep us in the dark about our true vulnerabilities. Especially when we are young, we tend to believe we are practically invincible and able to endure all sorts of abuse. We think we can get away with overeating, binge drinking, smoking, drug use, high level stress and sleep deprivation. For a while, that may hold up, but not forever. Over time, our bodies’ natural resilience diminishes and the consequences of our actions begin to show.
Of course, it is a “fact of life” that health problems come with age and growing older inevitably leads to physical decline and deterioration. But when we look at the most common diseases people suffer from today, they often turn out to be lifestyle-related – which means, they would be perfectly preventable.
Take heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease remains year after year the number one cause of deaths in America. Over 26 million Americans, roughly 12 % of the population, have been diagnosed with the disease in 2007 (the latest available data). The vast majority of all cases are lifestyle-related. The leading factors contributing to heart disease are poor eating habits, weight problems, lack of physical exercise, stress, anxiety and sleep deprivation. All of these derive from our behavior, not our nature. The good news is that we can make changes and turn this dismal situation around, if we choose to.