According to recently released statistics by the American Heart Association, the annual death rate from coronary heart disease from 1996 to 2006 declined 36.4 percent and the actual death rate dropped 21.9 percent. This is certainly some welcome news within the heart disease community. While much of the decline can be attributed to improvements in how hospitals recognize and process heart disease patients and to the availability of cholesterol-lowering statins, prevention methods by people at risk has probably played the biggest role.
That said, we have also witnessed an alarming increase in obesity and diabetes in this country over the past 10 to 15 years, a trend that could easily erase any progress and improvements made in curing heart disease. This is a stark reminder that while medical research and technology are making unbelievable advancements in curing heart disease, it is even more important for us to follow preventive methods.
Today, we are much more aware than even 20 years ago about the positive effects a good diet, regular exercise, and smoking cessation can have in helping us prevent cardiovascular disease, control cholesterol levels, and maintain an ideal body weight. Additionally, we are all much more educated about our health and what works and what doesn't in the daily fight against heart disease.
The online availability of news and information about heart disease has given us the ability to do more research on our own and be better educated when we talk to our family physician or cardiologist. Resources such as HealthCentral.com and access to the latest research studies in heart disease prevention provide great insight in diseases, treatments, exercise regimens, and diets. However, what really makes these sites and communities so valuable is the ability to have access to a group of experts (physicians, cardiologist, dieticians, nurses, etc.) who can answer questions and being able to hear real stories from other members of the community who are struggling with leading a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis.
It really does come down to us to be fully involved in our wellbeing. Doing the research, becoming more engaged, and asking questions - these are all great ways to leading a healthier lifestyle. But always keep your physician and cardiologist informed, and always make sure to ask lots of questions.
Published On: May 24, 2010