To Your Health!
By DR. JUAN A. ESCARFULLER
Would you like to know about your health and how to have a better quality of life for many years to come? Read on.
In the whole world the most common cause of death is a heart attack. A heart attack takes the life of more than 1,500,000 people each year just in the U.S. alone! Such suffering affects people primarily in the most productive time of their lives, between the ages of 35 and 65 years. This can be avoided by paying close attention to certain risk factors which contribute greatly to suffering a heart attack.
The following are among the most important risk factors which could lead a person to have a heart attack (and an immediate or sudden death 50 percent of the time):
—High blood pressure.
—Diabetes/ high blood sugar.
—A sedentary lifestyle.
—Unhealthy eating habits.
—Family history of heart attacks/sudden death among close relatives.
In a recent study published in Finland last month it was also shown that single women and men, and people who live alone, have a 60 to 70 percent greater risk of heart attack. In addition, these groups have more than a 160 percent greater risk of a related sudden death than those who are married or who live with family.
The only risk factor we cannot do anything about is our family history. None of us has the ability to choose our parents or our genes. However, we can take control of the other risk factors with a little effort on our part. Let’s look at these risk factors.
The first one is smoking. Whoever wants to take care of oneself, stop smoking. Simply stop smoking.
Have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol risk factors? Then, visit your doctor at least every three months to make sure that these risk factors are under strict control. This will reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack or a related sudden death as much as possible.
Making a lifestyle change to include a healthy diet and daily exercise requires effort and planning. Start this radical lifestyle change today for the sake of being healthy and living a better and more productive life for many years to come.
If you do not have any of these risk factors or do not know your state of health, then it is important that you see your doctor at least once a year.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for the symptoms which can be a sign of an imminent heart attack: chest pain — jaw pain — shoulder or arm pain — back pain between the shoulders — feeling of pressure in the chest — difficulty breathing — feeling of indigestion — rapid heartbeats — cold sweats and nausea
Among the elderly the symptoms may be unusual and could take the form of dizziness and fainting spells as well.
In summary, if you wish to avoid a heart attack and sudden or immediate death, see your doctor regularly and follow this advice:
1. Avoid smoking.
2. Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
3. Do at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercises every day.
4. Consult your doctor about your blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure numbers.
5. Take your medications as prescribed.
6. Stay in close contact with your loved ones.
Dr. Juan A. Escarfuller, cardiologist, is on the staff of Teche Regional Medical Center and his practice is Sacred Heart Cardiology, 1151 Marguerite St., Suite 100-A, Morgan City. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in the subspecialty of cardiovascular diseases and vascular cardiology. He performed his residency in internal medicine through Tulane University Affiliated Hospitals in New Orleans and holds an adult cardiology fellowship, also from Tulane University Affiliated Hospitals.