By Staff Reports
(DGIwire) – Heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States as well as most other developed countries. Although declining slightly in recent years for various reasons, heart disease is associated with over 700,000 deaths each year in the U.S. and over 7 million hospitalizations every year.
The numbers are not encouraging. Heart disease affects more than 80 million adults. The associated annual cost is over 300 billion dollars a year.
Many people think that the risk for developing heart disease is mainly controlled by age and family history. However, most recent research shows that diet and lifestyle choices make the biggest difference regardless of age or inherited genetic factors.
The American Heart Association provides seven lifestyle guidelines to lower the risk factors for heart disease. However, less than one percent of Americans have all the bases covered, which is a huge part of the problem.
The seven risk factors are: High blood pressure; Abnormal cholesterol; Diabetes; Smoking; Obesity; Unhealthy diet and; Physical inactivity.
“There are many simple things people can do to decrease their risk factors and most of them are related and affect each other. Not smoking, eating healthier and being more active will usually improve the all risk factors without the need for medications usually employed to control them. There is no need to go to extremes or become a health nut to reap measurable benefits, improve risk factors and improve overall health and wellbeing,” according to Tom Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust (BSH 2011)
Annual physical exams serve as a baseline of a person’s current condition as well as a roadmap for ongoing improvement. There are medications for blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes but these drugs often cause unwanted side effects.
Griesel adds, “Improving diet and increasing activity levels usually make drugs unnecessary. Regular physical activity can be as simple as sitting less and walking more. When combined with some bodyweight exercises, benefits are easily achieved. Improving diet is often as simple as avoiding sugar and processed foods and focusing on eating more whole foods, especially high fiber fruits, leafy greens and vegetables.”