1. You must educate yourself.
Understand what causes heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. You need to know that the answer is your lifestyle. The way you live your life every day is what causes arterial inflammation, stiffening of the artery wall and plaque buildup. Eventually, leading to a heart attack of the heart or a heart attack of the brain, also known as a stroke.
Invasive procedures like a double bypass heart surgery or even a placement of a stent does not correct the long term underlying chronic disease of the arterial system. It is the anti-inflammatory nature of your nutritional plan and the choices that you place at the end of your fork that will keep your arterial system healthy. Yes, the most important medical decision you make every day is at the end of your fork.
There are many ways that you can educate yourself without having to go back to school to get a nutrition degree.
Get involved in our community of wellness. Stay connected to people that can help educate you and are also living a healthy lifestyle. Learn about restaurants in your area that have healthy food options. Add 10 minutes at the end of your Bible study that puts healthy tips on the lives of your family and others. Read a book that is related to health and wellness once a quarter.
For more on wellness, grab our book: The Quest for Wellness
2. Know your risk factors.
It is not just a simple cholesterol panel that will tell you whether or not you have heart disease. You must do a full panel and know all of your vital signs.
Be passionate about maintaining a healthy body composition. Buy a blood pressure cuff and keep your blood pressure in the normal range. Understand all of the markers that are bio-chemical in nature that indicate systemic inflammation, a brewing heart attack or a stroke.
Only you can take the steps to improving your risk factors. Your doctor does not have control over your actions at the lunch table or your decisions about whether or not you eat at a fast food restaurant.
3. It is imperative that you exercise.
We know that you cannot out run the fork. Your body will see the toxic nature of food no matter how much you exercise.
Exercise is important for keeping the heart healthy and the nature of your heart pumping strong. Exercise is also imperative for depositing minerals in the bones keeping them strong as well. Exercise also maintains the amount of lean muscle mass you have on your frame. If you do not maintain muscular strength you will find yourself weaker than you should be when you are in your 80s and approaching your 90s.
4. Get plenty of adequate rest.
The nature of sleep is vital to the health of the cardiovascular system. A system that is continuously running on overdrive will eventually cause undue damage.
When the system does not rest, cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine levels rage out of control. Epinephrine and norepinephrine can create abnormal blood pressure readings and cause excessive stress on the heart.
The body’s natural circadian rhythm will also get out of the balance. It is as if the system is no longer knows whether it is coming or going. This also leads to problems with hormonal imbalance.
5. Change your diet to a nutritional lifestyle.
Dr. Mark and I have coined hour wellness program, The New American Lifestyle. We all know that diets don’t work. The first three letters of the word diet spells die!
We have to develop a better relationship with food. We must know that food is the gasoline that runs our engines. If we take in food that has low octane and no nutrition, how is the heart supposed to run like a fine tuned engine? Changing habits are difficult but imperative to determining the long-term health of the cardiovascular system.
6. Renew your mind.
“As you think, so shall you become.” What you have in your mind will get seated in your heart. If your mind is toxic, it will create a toxic environment in your heart. To be completely and totally well we have to be well in all areas of our lives, including our mind.
7. Start taking supplements.
There are a few nutrients that you cannot go wrong with adding to your daily plan.
At the top of the list is EPA and DHA. Our bodies cannot make these two omega-3 fatty acid’s. They must be obtained from the outside. If we do not have enough of these essential fatty acid’s our bodies become brittle and rigid.
Adding good oil to your system is like changing oil in the engine of your car. This can improve the aging of the vascular system. If the cellular membranes do not have enough EPA and DHA in their phospholipid membranes they get inflamed, brittle, stiff and are more likely to succumb to the inflammatory processes of a heart attack or stroke.
Niacin or vitamin B3 is an important B vitamin that can aid in reducing inflammatory particle sizes and improve good cholesterol numbers. You want to be under the guidance of a physician in adding this nutrient to your protocol to ensure you do not have side effects from it.
Coenzyme Q10 is another nutrient that is essential for heart health. As we age our body is unable to make the levels of Coenzyme Q10 they were once able to. Supplementing with Coenzyme Q10 can improve mitochondrial function and energy production. The heart muscle is very rich in mitochondria.
Staying healthy is your responsibility.
The bottom line is, we cannot depend on physicians, personal trainers, psychiatrist, pastors or other individuals to keep us healthy. It is a personal responsibility. We must be well educated and make a personal decision to be accountable of our own health. No longer can we depend upon drugs and surgeries to solve the root cause. It is our lifestyle.
It is completely unnecessary to have hundreds and thousands of dollars in medical bills. That can be completely avoided if we take charge, exercise self-control, and take personal action.
Educate yourself, get a thorough work up, understand your inflammatory risk, and do something about it to live a healthy lifestyle. It is fantastic to know that if we get in a medical crisis we have these options available. These steps will ensure that your life is of quality not just quantity.
No one is afraid to die, it is the suffering that we are fearful of. That can be avoided if we take action.