MEDWATCH: How to prevent heart disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year, that's 1 in every 4 deaths. Heart disease remains the number one killer in the U.S. for men and women. But doctors say there are ways to significantly reduce your risks of developing it.

Studies have shown time and time again that there are five things that can be done to reduce your risks of heart disease by 80 to 85 percent.

"Number one, don't smoke. Number two, moderate physical activity-30 to 40 minutes a day, or 5 times a week," CCMH Cardiologist Dr. Bassam Saliba said. "Number three, few alcoholic drinks-don't drink a twelve pack a night. Maybe a beer a night, or a glass of wine which is even better. Number four, have fruit and vegetable servings, multiple servings a day. And this is where in Oklahoma it's an issue. And number five, sleep 7 hours a day."

Not only by doing these five things, do you significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, but studies show it also reduces your risks of other diseases like stroke, diabetes, dementia, and even cancer.

"All of these you can prevent just by doing very simple stuff," Dr. Saliba said. "Of course you have to quit tobacco. Of course, you have to be active. You cannot just sit, eat popcorn, eat chips and cheese, and watch TV. You have to get up and get moving and eat more vegetables and fruits. Plant products, grains, lentils, beans, stuff like that. And you can do very well."

Comanche County Memorial Hospital Cardiologist Dr. Saliba said lifestyle changes, particularly what we eat, are major factors.

"Food. Is it a medicine or a poison? If you eat healthy food, it can be medicine. If you're eating a lot of animal fat, if you're drinking excessive alcohol, if you sit down on the couch and don't do anything, you use tobacco, it's poison. It's poison. You're killing yourself," Dr. Saliba said.

Dr. Saliba said these small changes that could save your life.

"You can prevent 80 percent of heart disease. 80 percent. For a group of cardiologists like us, 80 percent means four of us have no job."

Dr. Saliba said while family history does play a part in your risk of heart disease, it still doesn't change the fact that by doing these 5 things, you will still be reducing your chances.

In other health news, CCMH's annual Heart Healthy Luncheon is February 23rd at 11:30 in the Maple Conference Room. You're invited to attend the lunch and presentation "Aspirin, friend or foe?"

Lunch is $10. Seating is limited so please RSVP by calling 585-5406

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