With Every Beat of Your Heart
October 14th, 2011 - By Lari Robling
Do you know what your risk of cardiovascular disease is? You should. Heart attacks are the number one killer in the United States while strokes are the third. The Center for Disease Control wants to prevent a million heart attacks over five years. Find out how they are going to do it and what you need to do for your heart health.
Here are some great recipes from the American Heart Association's Simple Cooking with Heart program, part of the My Heart. My Life. Platform.
-Asian Cole Slaw »
-Asian-Style Noodles with Pork and Vegetables »
We've heard it over and over, exercise, cut down on saturated fats, sodium and sugar. So, why aren't we doing it, and what might the consequences be? "It causes more than 800,000 deaths per year, and more than 2 million heart attacks and strokes a year." That's Dr. Peter Briss a Medical Director at the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "It also causes enormous economic burden in the health care system with annual costs of more than 400 billion dollars. Almost half of all American adults have a major risk factor: blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking."
Even more frightening, heart attacks are our number one killer; strokes the third. So, what to do about it? Dr. Briss is one of the lead staff. He's charged with getting a new initiative to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes in the next five years. The CDC is also a funder our Fit series through a grant from the city, so some healthy actions are in place. But there's more to be done, "we call this the A-B-C-S approach. Aspirin for people at risk of heart attack and stroke; control of blood pressure is B; control of cholesterol is C; and prevention of smoking is S."
A two-prong approach encourages healthcare providers to raise awareness and on the community level there is an emphasis on eliminating trans fats and reducing sodium. "About 80% of sodium in our diets is from packaged or restaurant foods. There are a number of efforts ongoing now to work with industry. This will put more control back in hands of consumers when consumers have the opportunity to add the amount of salt that they like. They never add back as much as has been taken out. So, that suggests that consumers can be happy with less sodium in packaged and restaurant foods."
The Million Hearts Initiative also looks to food manufacturers to eliminate trans fats. But as Dr. Briss notes, if any of this were simple to solve it would have been by now. Still, the evidence is that these steps are achievable.
MORE FROM FIT:
Register online for the American Heart Association's 2011 Philadelphia Heart Walk »