Five Things That Could Save Your Life

I weigh about ten ounces.  I transport about 2,00o gallons of liquid every day.  I appreciate a good red wine.  I’m small but mighty, every day I create enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles.  What am I?

If you’ve guessed a heart then you’ve guessed right; ten bonus points for you!

Although the heart is small,  its function is not reflected in the size.  During an average lifetime, the heart will pump enough blood to fill 20 train cars, which is about 1.5 million barrels of blood.

As you can see your heart is incredible, but many Americans don’t give it credit where credit is due.  By not taking care of your heart you are more likely to be obese, suffer a heart attack or die at an early age.

Heart disease (HD) is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States.  In 2011, more than 770,000 people died from heart related diseases.  To put that number into perspective, it would be the equivalent to the entire state of Alaska dying in one year!

After reading these facts, I’m sure you don’t want to become one of the statistics.  Below is a list of the five most important things you need to know about our country’s top killer:

1.  First and foremost, most cases of heart disease are preventable.  By exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy diet, sleeping eight hours a day and having an annual physical exam you are 80 percent less likely to suffer from heart disease!

2.  Men are more likely to experience heart disease than women but ladies, you’re not exempt.  Those who react to stress with anger are 35-55 percent more likely to experience a heart attacks.  Take a deep breath or count to ten before responding to stressful events, this could be the difference between life and death.

3.  If you smoke, quit.  If you’re a man and your wife smokes you’re 92 percent more likely to have a heart attack.

4.  Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing more than 385,000 people per year.  Coronary heart disease is caused by a build up of plaque (a waxy substance) in the arteries, restricting blood flow.  Over several years, plaque can harden or rupture.  If the plaque hardens, it can cause a blood clot which can result in a heart attack or stroke.  Eating a balanced diet that is low in saturated and trans fat can lower your risk of plaque build up.

5.  Laughing often can increase your blood flow reduce your risk of heart disease.  According to a study performed by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, 15 minutes of daily laughter is as important for your heart as exercise three times a week!

Your heart, you only have one, so treat it right.  If you’re unsure the current state of your heart, stop by any MountainStar primary care clinic for free blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI tests.


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