How Preventable is the No. 1 Killer Worldwide: Cardiovascular Disease?

How Preventable is the No. 1 Killer Worldwide — Cardiovascular Disease?

Written by Dr. Larry

A medial statistic caught my eye this week, and I’ve been thinking about it all week.  I want to share it with you — get your thoughts.

Cardiovascular disease (including heart attacks and strokes) is the No. 1 cause of death in the world and the U.S; about 1/3 of people die of this. More people die of this than cancer, pneumonia, opiate addiction, car wrecks and suicide. You get it. Chances are, you and me both are more likely to die from CV disease than anything else.

Blah blah blah, stats stats stats. Here’s the thing that I’m still thinking about.

Over 90 percent of cardiovascular disease is preventable.

Read it again.

Let me rephrase.

Almost all cases of the No. 1 killer worldwide are preventable. Not “some” or even “most” (most to me can mean anything from 51 percent to 75 percent). This is 90 = almost all.

More rephrasing.

You can do something about the greatest threat to your life.

You can do a lot, actually.

You can almost get rid of it entirely.

Now, some uncomfortable thoughts that I’ve been having.

Much of the suffering I see on a daily basis working as a doctor in the ER and rounding in the hospital is preventable.

Needless suffering.

Doesn’t have to happen.

Patients didn’t have to go through this.

Then I wouldn’t have a job.

And could be on the beach, listening to waves.

Maybe surfing.

Or sipping a Mae Tae.

Thanks a lot, guys.

I digress.

Honestly, in 15 years of medicine, I think this reality has made me depressed. Seeing so much unnecessary suffering all the time makes me sad. Because people die from this stuff, and their families cry. Always. Because they are gone. Dead. Or people end up paralyzed in wheelchairs and nursing homes from strokes. And their lives are forever changed. AND IT DIDN’T HAVE TO HAPPEN.

Sorry for the yelling.

What can we (you) do to prevent this? So glad you asked.  It’s hard to know what matters anymore, with so much distraction online these days. There are seven things that are the 90 percent factors to prevent cardiovascular disease. But basically it comes down to two things you can do:

  1. Lifestyle.
  2. Take meds.

Simple. Not always easy — but not complicated.

Now, in more detail: the seven things are:

  1. Eat healthy
  2. Exercise
  3. Don’t smoke; AND target and treat
  4. Obesity
  5. High blood pressure
  6. High cholesterol
  7. High blood sugar (diabetes)

Sure, you’ve heard this before. Blah blah blah.

Well, I’m going to put together a list of the most effective things to do for each of these, so you know where to focus and you can silence the unending media health noise. And for a preview: It’s not stuff like eating blueberries, taking vitamins and supplements or doing a cleanse or detox. None of those will change your risk of dying from the No. 1 killer in the world. AT ALL.

Yelling again, sorry.

The following thought occurred to me, based on the above:

Lifestyle is the No. 1 killer of people worldwide.

Scary. But, really — great news. Because we can change that.

The good thing about being 150 pounds overweight? You get to have a lot of success and victories along the way (a victory party every five pounds would be 30 parties — just go easy on the cake), and your before-and-after pics would be incredible. You would inspire everyone in your life. And you’d probably be able to stop taking meds for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol — I love watching people come off meds.

I think I’m going to make a Youtube playlist of one minute videos of before-and-after shots with lifestyle stuff in between. How’s that for inspiration. Let’s do that.

One more thing: While working on lifestyle, I advise everyone to get on meds in the meantime, as needed, to control the Big Three: blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

Eliminate that as a risk factor. Get it under control. Now.

So, if your blood pressure is 160/99, get on meds to get it under 120/80 while you are cutting fat. No need to be a ticking time bomb for a bleed in your brain from high blood pressure.

Brain bleeds would be bad, by the way.

Get it under control — and then focus on the real lifestyle things that actually will keep you alive longer.

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