Someone once said life is not about how many breaths you take but about how many times your breath is taken away! While this comment was encapsulated in a conversation about living life to its fullest, it can have a more literal meaning as well.
While having your breath taken away can be a good thing, it can certainly be a bad thing if you have poor health and die prematurely from living a life that may be fun, but void of good health and longevity. I recently had a “breathless” experience of my own, one I won’t soon forget.
My father died suddenly of heart attack at age 47. He was not in great shape having gained 40 pounds and diagnosed with high cholesterol. Dad was never one to exercise but did work on his diet, unfortunately not soon enough.
Having just turned 49 and having a beautiful family I adore, I wanted to take even better control of my health so I decided it was time to see a cardiologist. Being an endurance athlete I get plenty of exercise and my diet is good, I still wanted to get a “check-up” on my heart health and make sure the plan I am on will provide me the best opportunity for good health and longevity. With the appointment set, I was on my way to meet my cardiologist.
One never knows for sure what to expect when going to a doctor’s office for the first time and I certainly wasn't prepared mentally for what I experienced. The waiting area had over 100 patients, all of whom were experiencing some severe level of ill health from heart disease.
While I certainly wasn't the oldest, I wasn't the youngest either and the picture of ill health shook me to my core! It was frightening and sad to see so many people suffering from some form of heart disease and confirmed my resolve to make sure I keep to a plan that would keep me as far away from the cardiologist’s office as possible.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. Approximately 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United Stated every year which is 1 in every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women and every year over 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.
Add the rapid increase in adult onset Type 2 diabetes, the health of the American population has dramatically worsened in the last 100 years, making us one of the “sickest” nations on the planet. In 1900 heart disease was only the number four killer and a few years prior to that it was not in the top ten causes of death. So why the large increase in deaths associated with heart disease?
In my next column I will discuss the history of the rise in heart disease in America.
HERE’S TO BEING FIT FOR LIFE! Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, Group Exercise Instructor, exercise and endurance enthusiast. He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events. He is a member of the 2015 QT2 Systems Advanced Team.