When it comes to Americans and heart disease, it seems like things are beginning to look up. According to new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the risk of Americans dying from heart disease fell by 43 percent between 1980 and 2000. Interestingly enough the study did not credit modern medicine with the drastic decline, but prevention efforts, like quitting smoking, keeping cholesterol levels in check and lowering high blood pressure, are what really brought heart disease mortality rates down. So, lifestyle changes have made a big difference in Americans' lives.
While millions have been spent on anti-smoking outreach campaigns, one of the big points that might have been missed here is that with the advancement of online technologies, we are now only a click away from having the information we need to help us improve our way of life, kick bad habits, and even seek help. A quick Google search into "heart healthy diets" returns over 65 million resources online and while many may not be worth your time, there are a good number of sites and communities that provide very valuable information.
I am signed up to a number of listservs that send me daily and weekly emails with informative links about such things as heart healthy diets, exercise to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and other activities that help reduce stress and anxiety. The advent of new online technologies such as Facebook and Twitter also allow users to receive key information directly, and the ability to join different peer groups to share experiences, key information, and even receive support. For those that like RSS feeds, you can even set up a daily download of articles that will be dropped directly into your favorite reader, where you can quickly and easily browse through all the articles.
Many online communities, such as HealthCentral.com Cholesterol network, provide a great place online for people to read about the experiences of others living with high cholesterol and sharing tips on ways to manage our disease. I used HealthCentral as a resource even before I started writing and sharing my experiences of living with high cholesterol.
The ability to have information readily available has been the key in the success of prevention outreach efforts and we should all take advantage of these opportunities to educate ourselves and others in successfully managing and even defeating heart disease.