CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

Did you know that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States and that nearly half of all Americans alive today will die from CVD? Did you know that life expectancy in the U. S. would rise by 7 years if all major forms of CVD could be eradicated? The fact is that CVD is a major killer of all people, accounting for 45.6% of deaths. The reasons are clear: too little physical activity combined with copious amounts of unhealthy eating, obesity, cigarette smoking, uncontrollable stress levels and uncontrolled hypertension.

Fortunately, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) the age- adjusted rate of cardiovascular mortality has decreased by 40% in the last 30 years due to better treatment options and more effective primary and secondary prevention strategies. One of the key prevention measures concerning CVD is to know your risk factors which are printed in the table below. (For general purposes CVD and Coronary Artery Disease listed here are the same)  

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SPORTS MEDICINE
Coronary Artery Disease Risk Factor Thresholds

Positive Risk Factors                    Defining Criteria
1. Age Men 45 years +; Women 55 years +
2. Family History Heart attack or sudden death before 55 in father or other first-degree relative before 65 in mother or other female first-degree relative
3. Current cigarette smoking Or quit within the past 6 months
4. Hypertension Blood pressure 140/90 and higher or taking antihypertensive medication
5. Hypercholesterolemia Total cholesterol 200 + or HDL less than 35
6. Diabetes mellitus Persons with Type I diabetes who are 30 and older or have had it for 15yrs plus and persons with Type II Diabetes who 35 and older
7. Sedentary lifestyle/physical inactivity Persons among the least active 25% of the population, such as those with sedentary jobs and no exercise
Negative Risk factors                  Comments
1. High serum HDL cholesterol 60 mg/dl +

You probably noticed the first seven are POSITIVE risk factors while there is one NEGATIVE risk factor. The negative risk factor (high HDL's) means that if you have a high HDL reading (the "good" cholesterol) in your blood it is very beneficial for you. The positive risk factors are the ones you don't want. The term risk factor came with the realization that no known single factor causes CVD but a combination of factors can be associated with the development of CVD. Common sense would also add that the more positive risk factors a person has the more likely he or she is in developing CVD. There is a strong preventative measure that lifestyle exhibits against the development of CVD. Exercise and eating healthily exert strong forces against contracting CVD or lessening its effects if you already have it. Cigarette smoking is particularly noticeable as it is the most preventable cause of death in the United States! Simply taking at least 30 minutes a day to get in some form of exercise (walking, biking) would help prevent the complications caused by a sedentary lifestyle and combined with a healthy diet will help fight obesity as well. The point is, a little discipline at the table and a little elbow-grease in the form of exercise will do wonders in the battle against the world's number killer.

SCOT E. LONG, MSS, CSCS
EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGIST
DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE WELLNESS
GREATER JACKSON YMCA'S
ADJUNCT PROFESSOR OF KINESIOLOGY @ MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE

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