Every year, 400,000 or so Americans die from heart related issues.
You'd think with a toll that high, most are succumbing because there is no way to prevent it. Certainly, we wouldn’t face such immense risk if there were good ideas to save ourselves.
But as we celebrate American Heart Month, here’s the truth of it. Many more could survive if we only took routine good advice.
Better to start living healthy when you are young by staying active, avoiding smoking or quitting if you are a smoker, eating properly, keeping our weight in check, keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum, sleeping eight hours a night and recognizing stresses in life and finding ways to manage the stress.
Becoming healthier is a good choice anytime in your life. Especially right now.
There is no doubt that I have changed my eating habits, just because it makes good sense. I’ve cut out most fried foods and high fat foods from my diet and added more vegetables and fruits. I’ve always enjoyed fruits and veggies; so it’s not a big stretch for me. But I also like a big juicy cheeseburger and fries once in a while, and all signs indicate I have survived that occasional confrontation nicely.
My belief is the ultimate trigger to failing health is our inability to control stress, partly because we don’t exercise much and life has become much less easy in general. But we insist on bad choices sometimes and then rationalize that choice.
Think of this. You have a good job that offers a future and good enough income to almost live the life you want. But the circumstances of that job – the unrelenting and unregulated stress in a hostile environment – chips away at your body’s stress defenses. And you let it. In the end it will kill you.
You can be smarter. But you are making a bad trade. You are saying to yourself, I will trade a certain safety in my career and relationships for an early death. How does that deal sound to you?
Yes, I thought so.
If you learn how to manage stress in your life, all other things will fall into place.
But consider that every year we know more. That knowledge means more people survive heart problems.
Though it seems impossible, some percentage of people have never had good information about how to live a heart healthy life, but my guess is the majority makes poor choices. The good news is the body often repairs itself if you begin to eliminate the biggest culprits – stress, smoking and bad diet.
It’s easy to say that you need to control stress. But how does that work? How can it?
First, there’s a benefit of deliberately seeking “stress-less moments” each day. Take deep breaths to slow down yourself. Then think of ways to have an “intentionally happier” home and work. Find ways to create more moments with your children and spouse, and even co-workers. Take control of happiness as a real component of your life.
Mothers and fathers can appreciate how it’s easy to misplace the happiest moments with your kids. Stress can do that.
And by the way, put down the bucket of greasy fried chicken and put out that Marlboro. They’ll kill you, too.
Next in Part 3 for Heart Month: Heart attacks are targeting women, and women don’t seem to be noticing. How did this happen and how can we stop it?
Who am I, and why would a person listen to me? Both fair questions. I’m Christine Hammerlund and I’ve been a nurse for years. I have delivered babies, saved lives, and cared for hundreds of patients through their medical triumphs and tragedies. Now I run Assured Healthcare at http://www.assuredhealthcare.com. We're a multi-million dollar medical staff provider in Illinois. I live in Antioch, Ill. Got health questions for me, whether large or small? I’ll answer. Visit us at http://www.facebook.com/AssuredHealthcareStaffing and Chrishammerlund@yahoo.com