Thanks to George Carlin we know there are seven dirty words you can never say on TV. There are also seven dirty words about heart disease that everyone should know:
• Diet – fat, sugar and foods high in cholesterol are known to contribute to heart disease; diabetes (also diet related) also damages the heart and blood vessels.
• Genetics – African Americans, Hispanics, native Americans all have higher rates of high blood pressure and heart disease.
• Stress – working too much, dramatic personal lives, worrying, depression; also feeding stress with too much alcohol and other drugs (Carlin reportedly went through drug and alcohol rehab in 2004).
• Smoking – constricts blood vessels and strains the heart and lungs.
• Inactivity – the heart is a muscle that needs to be exercised; even moderate activity is helpful, and losing 10 pounds can reduce your cardiac risk.
• High blood pressure – leads to undue stress on a variety of organs, including the heart; combined with other risk factors it increases the chance of a heart attack many times.
• Denial – saying “it won’t happen to me,” without changing your lifestyle, guarantees you won’t see a decrease in your risk.
“Advances in heart research and changes in the way physicians manage heart disease have made heart disease a chronic illness. Modern therapies, such as statins and the simple drug aspirin, together with our knowledge of prevention, have prolonged the lives of many people who, just 30 years ago, would have died much earlier,” according to Dr. Cam Patterson, chief of the Division of Cardiology and director of the Carolina Cardiovascular Biology Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.
Heart Disease remains the number one killer of women.