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Are you Taking Care of What You Can’t See?

Posted Jan 20 2011 5:13pm

In honor of American Heart month (February) and more importantly in honor of my Uncle who just hours ago under went open heart surgery (successfully, from what I hear so far.), I want to know:

Are you taking care of what you can’t see?

When it comes to diet and exercise, we often focus on weight because we can see it.

There are other numbers that matter. Numbers that, in addition to your weight, directly impact the health of your heart. Below are the numbers to know:

  • Blood pressure (According to American Heart Assoc, 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure)
  • Blood Glucose (blood sugar) (normal between 70mg and 150mg)
  • Cholesterol (normal: less than 200 total; HDL 60mg/dl and above; optimal LDL is less than 100mg/dl)
  • Triglycerides (main form of fat in the body. Normal is less than 150 mg/dl)
  • BMI/Waist Circumfirance
  • Exercise, minimum 30 minutes daily (break it up if you have to)

And how about these numbers: (from the 2010 report of the American Heart Association Statistics committee)

  • Every year about 785,000 Americans have a first heart attack. Another 470,000 who have already had one or more heart attacks have another attack.
  • In 2010, heart disease will cost the United States $316.4 billion. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

Heart disease is costly, in time, money and emotions. And it’s preventable. If we stop ignoring it.

There was a time when I exercised for weight loss, to stay thin. As I get older, become more self-aware and experience personally the emotions behind open heart surgery, I look at the foods I eat and the exercise I participate in differently.

I no longer feel guilty for eating French fries because of the weight around my belly. Instead I’m more concerned about what it does to my heart. (Focusing on my heart will also impact my weight)

If exercise more, eat less, lose weight were part of of your New Year’s resolutions, I ask you in February and all year to add one more reason  – to take care of what you can’t see – your heart. Because without a healthy heart, does anything else really matter?

Taking small steps today to prevent heart disease can save you a lot of time and money later – on doctor visits, prescription medication or even surgery. Take that walk, prepare a home cooked meal, connect with your family, manage your stress. Stop putting it off, you may not be able to see the impact. Why take the chance?

Sending prayers to my uncle and all those who are living with heart disease.

Need resources?

Learn about Dean Ornish and his work at the Preventative Medicine Research Institute .

Check out these books on preventing and reversing heart disease.

How about you, how do you take care of what you can’t see? What small step can you take today to avoid an unhealthy heart in the future?

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