Wellness Matters

We All Have the Tools to Fight Heart Disease...and We Cannot Afford Not to

February 08, 2017

heart healthy woman
Chronic diseases threaten all of our futures. Did you know more than 17% of spending in the US is on healthcare costs? Much of this is spent on treating chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. We spend $300 billion on cardiovascular disease alone. That number is projected to increase to $1 trillion by 2030. The prevalence of diabetes is expected to increase by 200% in the next 30 years. However, we have the ability and the tools to fight back.

As a cardiologist I emphasize active living and healthy eating with my patients. Here are five common questions I’m fielding in my practice.

What is preventive medicine?

Preventive medicine is avoiding chronic disease before it occurs or eliminating it through healthy lifestyle choices before our health is permanently affected.

What are healthy lifestyle choices?

Healthy lifestyle choices include eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, drinking alcohol not at all or only in moderation, and getting the recommended amount of exercise every week. In one study 80% of heart attacks were prevented by following these five healthy habits.

What kind of physical activity do I need?

Any physical activity is better than doing nothing. Sitting for extended periods during the day is dangerous. While the American Heart Association suggests that we all get 150 minutes of moderate exercise (like walking 3 miles per hour) per week, it is clear that even less activity has tremendous benefit. Every little increase in activity reduces your risk of chronic disease.

Do I need to join a gym?

You can. But what you really need to do is find out what works for you. Walking to work, taking the stairs, learning to dance, working in your garden all count toward the recommended level of physical activity. Look for things that fit into your lifestyle and your busy schedule and that you will want to turn into a lifelong routine.

What is a healthy diet?

This is a very controversial topic. However, it is clear that a diet lower in sugar and higher in fish, chicken, fruits, grains and vegetables is the basis for eating healthy for life. Another part of any healthy diet is eating smaller portions and balancing your intake of calories with the energy you expend in a day. Consult a dietary expert to understand what diet fits your particular situation.

About the Author

Dr. Jake Hochrein
Dr. James Hochrein, MD Chief of Cone Health Medical Group HeartCare and Cone Health Cardiovascular Services


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