Further Improvements in Heart Health Need More Than Medicine
Sep 30, 2016 09:48AM
● By MARSHA SAKAMAKI
We’ve had decades of reductions in deaths caused by diseases of the heart and blood vessels. However, the decline in cardiovascular mortality has slowed significantly, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers have called their findings “alarming.” They have suggested that the benefits from medical interventions may have reached their limit and that further improvements in heart health may depend largely on changes in personal behavior.
An article in the August 1 edition of The New York Times provides significant data to support this suggestion. Until recently, we did better each year in controlling three major health risk factors—smoking, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, often with the help of medication. However, many more people have become obese and developed Type 2 diabetes.
Adult obesity is now found in about one person in three. Diabetes has tripled from 1990 to 2013. The rate of decline in cardiovascular deaths for men—3.69 percent in the past decade—is now less than one-quarter of 1 percent. And the rate of decline for women dropped from 3.98 percent to 1.17 percent.
Sadly, the current generation of young Americans, born since 1980, may be the first to live shorter lives than their parents.
Thankfully, there is hope. We need to take charge of our own health and implement the necessary changes into our lives. These changes will not only help cardiovascular health but may also help prevent many common cancers, as well as diabetes, arthritis, cognitive decline, depression and osteoporosis.
An American Heart Association committee of experts studied the issue of the declining rate of improvements in cardiovascular health and made the following recommendations for ideal heart health behaviors:
- Quit smoking or never start. Quitting will eventually reduce your risks to equal a person that never smoked.
- Engage in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity, or a combination of the two. That’s the minimum advised—more is better.
- Consider the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which focuses on fruits and vegetables, fish, fiber-rich whole grains, nuts, legumes and seeds, and no more than two servings a week of processed meats. More details on this diet are easy to find. Calorie counting is not advised. Calorie needs vary tremendously based on an individual’s basal metabolic rate, body size, body mass and physical activity level.
- Limit saturated fats to less than 7 percent of total calories.
- Limit sodium. Most of it comes from processed and restaurant foods.
Most of us have heard this advice before. However, it’s apparent that many people ignore it.
The Wellness Center Hawaii, in Honolulu, has a motto: “Take charge of your health.” These recommendations take a bit of work. But the rewards are a longer, healthier and happier life.
The Wellness Center Hawaii, in Honolulu, offers the latest in cutting-edge and innovative energy-based techniques, applications and products that support one’s journey to optimal health. Many of these solutions have appeared on TV and in other media. The Center’s vision is to walk with clients on the road toward achieving clients’ desired goals.