Treating Heart Disease
We know that heart disease is a scary term—you've probably heard that it's the leading killer of men and women today—but you can survive it! Heart disease is an umbrella term most people use to describe coronary heart disease, which is preventable, controllable and reversible.
Heart disease is caused by plaque build up on the interior artery walls and leads to a narrowing of those arteries and decreased blood flow to the heart. Often there are symptoms like chest, shoulder, neck or back pain that can signal a blockage, but in many cases heart disease is not diagnosed until after an individual has enough blockage to cause a heart attack.
Whew! So now that you know what it is, what can you do about it? While the magnitude and the often sudden impact of this disease on your life may seem overwhelming, it is important to remember that scientific advances and studies have proven that this is a disease that need not exist. When it does, there are steps you can take to manage and combat it. Most have to do with the things we all find it difficult to be good about (living healthier, exercising and being less stressed), so get ready to work. Our hope is that 30 days from now, you’ll be on your way to living heart healthier—and maybe even love your healthier self in general!
Heart-Healthy Diet and Exercise
After a diagnosis, you may feel out of control of your own life. There is a sense that the disease is “happening” to you and that there is nothing you can do to stop it. But the truth is that once an individual has been diagnosed, they are more in control than ever.
Phil Napoli of New Jersey was thirty-five and had just finished a game of racquetball when he suddenly got an intense pain between his shoulder blades and in his chest. He thought he’d been battling a mild form of bronchitis for the last couple of months, but ignored the discomfort. Two days later he was told he’d had a pretty intense heart attack.
Phil had no family history of heart disease and no risk factors like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, but admits that he wasn’t fanatical about getting exercise in everyday or being mindful of what he was putting into his body. “I gave up red meat and eliminated hydrogenated oils and processed foods from my diet. I made changes that stuck with me,” says Phil.