Did you know that Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States? In fact, 1 in 4 deaths is attributed to heart disease in the country.
That means that literally every 37 seconds, another heart fails in America! That’s a staggering statistic. Especially for one that we can help control.
A good friend of mine, Dr. Cohn, was lecturing many years ago and something he said stuck with me and I now share it with every group I speak with about health. It was one of those stats for me that made me pause.
Dr. Cohn – “The first symptom of heart disease for most people… Is a heart attack.”
Yes. You don’t see it coming. It’s not like a runny nose or scratchy throat that tells you a cold is about to happen. The scariest part of it all is that you may not live to fight your disease. Take a moment and think about all the people in your life who may be affected by heart disease – parents, grandparents, spouse, YOU, etc.
My goal is not to be depressing but to offer a reality check and some tips for you because this is real. I want to help you improve the quality of your life and your family’s life. We are going to talk about how you are going to fight this now.
We spend time and money on all the exterior (hair, skin, nails, and workout muscles) but often forget about the most important muscle, the heart. Without it, you’ve got nothing. Literally. So what can you do about your cardiovascular health? Well, you can start by knowing where you stand health-wise.
We all get on the scale to check our weight or body fat test to check our comp. So let’s add a couple of these to the list. If you need help with these you can contact your doctor or call me for general assistance.
- What is your resting heart rate? Many doctors prefer it to be somewhere in the 50-70 BPM range.
- How is your blood pressure? Ideally, it will ride right around 120/80.
- Do you have low or high cholesterol? Your total cholesterol should be well under 200, with LDL, or “bad cholesterol,” levels under 100 and HDL, or “good cholesterol,” over 60. This will help ensure a lack of arterial buildup and better circulation.
- What is your general energy level? Since a healthy heart will be efficiently pumping oxygen-filled blood and nutrients to your entire body, you should feel a general sense of energy rather than constant fatigue.
- How quickly do you recover after exercise? Ideally, your heart rate should drop by about 20 BPM after 1 minute of recovery time post-exercise. That’s a heart-healthy sign that it is able to bounce back after physical stress.
- How is your blood sugar? Cardiovascular health partly depends on healthy blood sugar levels. Diabetes can certainly increase your risk of decreased heart function.
- Do you have a family history of heart trouble? Genetics play a big role in heart disease and other cardiovascular issues and should be looked into when examining your own heart health.
Knowing many or all of these helps you stay on top of your health. Remember, heart issues are sneaky and will get you when you are not looking.
May I get personal for a minute? I am just like many of you and have heart disease in my family lineage. For my family genes, this includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, CHF, and pacemakers. – That’s most of the heart issues. I recently had my blood work done and knowing that I am already fighting against a few of these issues, I had expectations of slightly elevated numbers.
What I didn’t expect was my cholesterol to register at 423!! Yes that is 223 above the high range of 200. I was shocked!!!
What did I do? I Made some changes!
(Big Tip) Here are a couple things I did immediately to help give my heart some help. And things for you to implement for your healthy heart.
- Include more fiber each day. Oatmeal in the am. Psyllium husk powder, in my smoothie. You can also add more high fiber veggies like broccoli
- More fresh fruit for fiber and nutrients. Eat the whole fruit, not the juice. The whole fruit has the fiber and nutrients (berries, pineapple, mango, apples etc.)
- Omega fish oils 3, 6, 9. I added a supplement since I’m not a big fish eater. And I don’t skip my supplements (anymore)
- Moderate cardio activity – You can walk, jog, bike, but focus on low to moderate longer term cardio. I have an elliptical machine which is now in play daily. I MAKE the time to get on it. Not for my weight, but specifically for my heart health. I get more benefits than just the heart, but that is my intention.
- Lower intake of soluble fats, this is red meats, animal and dairy fats. Add fish, chicken, turkey. Red meat occasionally is fine, just pick the lean cuts.
And yesterday I went back to my Dr. for a recheck. I am happy to report my levels are back in the 150 range. Does this mean I will relax and go back to my old habits? Heck no!! I have a lot to live for so I am focused on making this change a lifestyle habit.
I hope you are inspired to check your numbers and put in some of the action tips to keep your heart healthy.
Do it for you and your family.
Here is to a healthy heart and a beautiful lifestyle.