No matter who you are, where you live, your background, gender, education, or economic standing, you must protect your heart. Heart disease is the #1 killer in the world of both men and women.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), heart disease claimed the lives of 17.7 million people globally in 2015 alone (a number that’s expected to exceed 20 million annually by 2030).
With an entire month dedicated to pink and the celebrity campaigns surrounding cancer, it isn’t your biggest threat. [Side note: due to our toxic environment, cancer is catching up.] Additionally, with cancer, you have time to weigh your options. You have time to settle your affairs. It doesn’t take you instantly, without warning.
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) leaves you no time. More than 300,000 adults in the United States die from a cardiac event resulting from a sudden loss of heart function. It accounts for half of all heart disease deaths.
Men are twice as likely to experience sudden cardiac death than women. Los Angeles cardiologist Dr. Noel Bairey Merz explains this unusual gap between the genders regarding SCD, “The fatty build-up of plaque in a coronary artery causing a heart attack will usually rupture or explode in men. In women, it will often be a much smaller, more subtle event, caused by erosion, not explosion.”
The truly starting statistic is the average age for sudden death in adults. You may be surprised to learn that SCD occurs most often in men between the ages of 35-45 years old – not the elderly.
In more than 50% of cases, there were no prior symptoms to alert the patient that there was a problem. Sometimes, a person experiencing a cardiac event may feel dizzy or feel as though their heart is racing.
Risk Factors for Sudden Cardiac Death
- Prior cardiac event or artery disease
- Drug use
If you present with arterial damage and your cardiologist tells you replacing the damaged tissue close to your heart is sufficient treatment, you need a second opinion. If your doctor isn’t going to protect your heart, then it’s up to you.
Your arteries are the “plumbing” system of your body. Pumping blood and nutritional requirements to every organ such as the kidneys, liver, and brain. When they malfunction, none of your key body functions are getting what they need.
The Family History Myth
Most doctors like to talk about “family history” as being one of the biggest factors of heart disease. What this usually means is that one generation passes their lifestyle and eating habits on to the next generation.
If these healthy habits include proper nutrition and regular exercise, your risk is going to be lower. If you were raised on fried foods and eight hours of television each day, chances are you aren’t going to enter adulthood with habits that keep your heart strong and your arteries healthy.
The general impression is that if you have a bad “family history” when it comes to heart disease, you’re doomed. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Not only can you prevent damage to your cardiovascular system and keep your arteries healthy – you can repair the damage that has already been done.
The Lifestyle Rules that Change Everything
There are four simple health strategies can make all the difference – no matter your gender, age, or family history.
- Eat healthy food (more fruits and vegetables).
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Do not smoke.
- Maintain a healthy body weight (particularly around the abdomen).
- Implement a regular exercise regimen.
According to research done at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, choosing to do any one of these lifestyle changes tends to lower your risk of a deadly cardiac event between 10-30%. However, combining all four lowers your SCD risk by an incredible 92% overall.
That’s a powerful way to protect your heart!
Dr. Agneta Akesson explains, “Our study shows the great effect you get from each of these and by combining them. It’s quite a simple health message, and you can do them by yourself.”
The study included more than 24,000 women participating in the national health survey. The women with the best numbers overall ate a diet that consisted primarily of vegetables, legumes, and fish. The researchers determined that 75% of cardiac events could be prevented by following these guidelines.
Don’t Neglect Your Arterial Health
Not looking after your “plumbing” can result in blood clots, aneurisms, and narrowing of your arteries. All of these can lead to heart attack and stroke. Arterial degenerative disease causes half of all deaths in the Western hemisphere.
What is usually overlooked is brain health. Without adequate blood flow, the brain gets disoriented and doesn’t process information as quickly. Long-term starvation of your brain may lead to dementia.
Your body’s natural detoxification system – liver, gall bladder, kidneys, and so on – needs blood flow functioning at peak to work efficiently.
The old saying, “a man is only as old as his arteries” could not be truer. Protecting your heart ensures you fight aging and disease from the inside out.
The Secrets to Total Body Wellness Are Out There!
Read more about anti-aging secrets your health will thank you for with my book How to Live Beyond 100 Years. Slow down the aging process and start reversing the years your arteries have been the least of your concerns.