Well if you’re willing to follow some or all of the following simple and somewhat obvious five lifestyle choices, your chance of a costly heart condition is greatly reduced. Here are the 5 things you need to do to drastically reduce your chances of getting heart disease:
- Quit Smoking
- Drink Moderately (less than two drinks a day)
- Exercising Daily (40 minutes a day)
- Eat a Healthy Diet (including plenty of fish, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts)
- Keep Your Tummy Trim (waist less than
Agneta Akesson of the Karolinska Institutet in was one of the study leaders, and he readily admits it’s not rocket science, “It is not surprising that healthy lifestyle choices would lead to a reduction in heart attacks. What is surprising is how drastically the risk dropped due to these factors.”
Akesson also noted, “Programs that target men and encourage them to adhere to these behaviors — even just two of them — could have a large impact on the burden of disease.” The Swedish researchers were able to assess the impact that each of the healthy behaviors would have on the health of a male heart independent of the others. “This reduction in risk corresponded to 18% for the healthy diet, 11% for moderate alcohol consumption, 36% for no smoking, 3% for being physically active, and 12% for having a low abdominal circumference,” the authors wrote.
What is surprising is that even though the steps aren’t beyond the means of most people to do, only 1% of men are actually doing all five steps. The authors noted that, “Only 1 percent of the population comprised the low-risk group, and thus followed this set of healthy lifestyle practices of their own accord.”
The Heart Foundation reports that every 34 seconds someone in the US has a heart attack and the cost of this level of heart disease is not only the loss of our loved ones but a severe financial burden.
WebMD reports that in 2010, heart attacks cost us as much as 44 billion dollars. This was incurred in direct medical costs such as ambulance costs, diagnostic tests, hospital charges, medications, testing, cardiologist appointments, and the like.
So with the statistics and the costs for heart attacks growing, following at least two of these basic five steps could put you ahead of the game both physically and financially, and keep you from becoming one of the 50% of Americans who has a chronic disease of some type.
(Photo courtesy of Mr.TinDC)