Heart disease remains the single leading cause of death in the United States. About every 26 seconds, an American will suffer a coronary event and about every minute someone will die from one. The prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is slightly higher in males than females. Men also have a higher death rate from coronary heart disease (CHD) which includes heart attacks and angina pectoris (chest pain or discomfort) than women.
Taking Risks with your Heart?
Being in a relationship isn't the only way you risk hurting your heart. Picking up a cigarette, gaining too much weight, and choosing the wrong foods can also damage your heart. But unlike a broken heart from that special someone, a broken heart from a heart attack may not mend over time and you can't have a rebound heart or quickly move on to another one! While you may not be able to control your risk factors for a broken heart, you can control your risk factors for heart disease.
• Quit Smoking: An estimated 251 million men put themselves at risk of heart attack by smoking. Smoking significantly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. Plus, no one likes kissing a smoker!
• Get More Exercise: National recommendations are for adults to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. In 2004, 30% of adults followed these guidelines. Start moving and get all the benefits of regular exercise including reducing the risk of CHD and high blood pressure.
• Lose weight: Being overweight increases risks for heart disease and other chronic conditions. Maintain a healthy weight to boost heart and overall health. Plus, you'll look and feel better about yourself!
• Eat Healthy: saturated fat and cholesterol increase the risk for atherosclerosis, a primary cause of heart attack and stroke. No doubt, you are familiar with the advice to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, leaner meats and to eat smaller portions. Yet statistics/surveys show that Americans are eating fewer fruits and vegetables, more meat, bigger portions, and thus more fat and calories.
Nutrition: Making Wise Choices
Mom said clean your plate--not clean your platter! Americans are eating more because of oversized portions on oversized plates. The Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture suggests that average daily calorie consumption in the U.S. increased 16% (that's 523 calories) between 1970 and 2003. Between 1977 and 1996, portion sizes for key food groups grew significantly in the U.S., not only at restaurants, but at home too. One study of portion sizes for typical items showed that soft drinks have increased from 144 to 193 calories and hamburgers have increased from 389 to 486 calories! To control portion size, eat your meals on smaller plates and keep in mind that even fast food restaurants now offer healthier selections.
Where your diet may lack, supplements can help fill in the gaps. Choose a multivitamin to insure your body gets the essentials it needs to maintain health. Also, care for your heart by supplementing with fish oil. Fish oil, which contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, may reduce the risk for coronary heart disease. Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids may also promote heart health by influencing the body to make lower amounts of triglycerides. In addition, studies show Vitamin D may help boost heart health.