Ebola is a one of the scariest diseases in existence. Just mentioning the name is enough to cause goose bumps on even the most macho man. Rightfully so, Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is downright gruesome with a case fatality rate as high as 90%. Part of the mystique of Ebola is that no one is sure where it can be found, there are no vaccinations, and we are uncertain about how humans are infected in the first place. What we are sure about is the number of deaths attributed to the recent outbreak of Ebola; as of October 25, 2014 the total is approximately 5,078. Fortunately, through modern sanitation and medical interventions, along with modern disease control procedures, we are unlikely to ever become infected. There are however other conditions that need to be addressed as they too are seriously impacting our lives and in MUCH larger numbers.
According to the CDC, heart disease was responsible for 596,577 deaths in 2010 and remains the leading cause of death among Americans. That’s 1 in every 4 deaths! Think of it this way; Every 33 seconds someone in the United States dies from cardiovascular disease. That is roughly the equivalent of a September 11th-like tragedy repeating itself every 24 hours, 365 days a year. The kicker is that Heart Disease, unlike Ebola, is easily preventable.
Poor diet, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol use, smoking and being overweight and/or obese are the leading risk factors for heart disease. If any of these risks pertain to you, it’s time to make a change. No one can make you change and no one will do it for you. However, if you don’t find time for wellness now, you will be forced to make time for illness later.
Rather than telling you what not to do, let’s focus on what you should be doing:
• Eat all the vegetables you can possibly handle, every day.
• Eat lean meat in portions the size of the palm of your hand, every day.
• Supplement with a multivitamin, fish oils, vitamin D3, and probiotics, every day.
• Do SOMETHING physical every day. Walking is good, running or weight training is better.
• Quit smoking as soon as possible.
Unlike ebola, heart disease is a condition brought about by poor lifestyle choices. By choosing to be healthy, you begin to have control over your fate later in life; giving you a better chance at having vibrant golden years. Just like Neil Young once said – “Its better to burn out than it is to rust.”
Yours in health,
Dr. Eric O’Connell