CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — For the nearly 80 million Americans suffering from heart disease, an ounce of prevention would surely have been worth their pound of cure.
Dr. J. David Amlicke, an interventionalist cardiologist with Gateway Medical Group, stresses the importance of education and proper preventative care when handling heart disease.
“Heart disease can really be minimized if people could begin educating themselves on proper health practices including diet and exercise,” he says.
Cardiac disease encompasses a rather large array of illnesses but most often refers to coronary artery disease, a condition in which plaque made up largely of fat, cholesterol, and calcium builds up inside the coronary arteries. Under the same umbrella, however, are a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) and cerebrovascular insults (CVI), more commonly known as strokes. The fifth most common cause of death in the United States, a stroke is a loss of brain function due to a lack of blood supply to the brain.
For men, cardiac disease is the leading cause of death in many parts of the world, including the United States. Unfortunately, nearly 50 percent of men killed by cardiac disease were previously symptom-free. As such, daily heart health becomes vital.
“Prevention is far more than half the battle,” Amlicke explains. “Practicing heart-healthy habits, like maintaining a healthy diet, remaining a non-smoker, and exercising properly, are going to keep your heart in the best condition possible so that when a problem presents itself, if a problem presents itself, you’re in the best position possible to handle it and recover.”
High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are all key risk factors for heart disease, and approximately 49 percent of American men possess at least one of these risk factors. In order to minimize your chances of a sudden cardiac event or prolonged heart disease you must minimize your risk factors. This begins, where so much of health does, with a healthy diet.
“Low sodium diets and menus filled with raw vegetables and leafy greens are healthy and important no matter what risk factors you may have,” Amlicke explains. Further, cutting out the amount of processed foods and sugars that you incorporate into your diet can help to boost heart health.
Finding an exercise program that you are able to regularly maintain is also vital to preventative heart health. The final step to maintaining heart health may seem simple, but it is one that is all too often ignored.
“Making regular visits to your primary care physician is going to keep you healthier in all aspects of your life,” Amlicke said.
No matter what your age, maintaining healthy cardiac habits will ensure that you not only feel your best, but are able to fight any problem your body may face to the best of your ability.