Through conversation with people about their wellness, I am excited to say that it seems like most are starting to view good health habits as mandatory, rather than something that can be left to chance.

Through conversation with people about their wellness, I am excited to say that it seems like most are starting to view good health habits as mandatory, rather than something that can be left to chance. Rightfully so, because with over half a million deaths in the United States each year resulting from coronary artery disease, facts indicate it has definitely become urgent that we take proactive steps daily to decrease risk factors for the condition.

What is coronary artery disease, you might ask? Well, let’s start by explaining that Arteriosclerosis is the thickening, hardening, and loss of elasticity of the blood vessels, especially the arteries. Atherosclerosis is a form of Arteriosclerosis and is the main cause of coronary artery disease. It is caused by the formation of fatty deposits on the lining of the coronary arteries. The fatty masses are formed due to the narrowing of the arterial walls. These fatty masses reduce the blood flow to the heart and rest of the body, which of course, is not good for our health. Atherosclerosis is a very slow problem that starts early in our lives and is mainly caused by poor nutritional choices high in saturated fats, physical inactivity, and even smoking.  Unfortunately it progresses without notice until a heart attack, angina episode (pain in chest due to lack of oxygen to the heart), or stroke occurs.

Most strokes are caused due to the decrease and lack of blood flow to the brain.  Without adequate blood flow, the brain cells don’t receive enough oxygen to survive.  Strokes are varied and can come in the form of one massive attack or several smaller ones.  Many health and fitness professionals will tell you that your chances for risk can be decreased by practicing healthy habits, and I would absolutely have to agree. It has been my experience that keeping your mind and body strong internally and externally will help you endure injury or illness better versus a body of weaker health status. Fortunately, we do have some control in the matter and it all begins with exercise, proper nutrition, and simply making lifestyle changes that reduce your chances for coronary artery disease.

Here are some of the major coronary artery disease risk factors to consider:  The higher number of these conditions present in your life typically increases your risk.  Please take your better health and these guidelines serious and make adjustments accordingly where possible.

Cigarette Smoking: a current smoker or those who have quit within the past six months

Hypertension: blood pressure >140/90, or an individual taking antihypertensive medication

High Cholesterol: total cholesterol over 200, or LDL (bad cholesterol) over 130, or HDL (good cholesterol) under 35

Sedentary Lifestyle: persons not participating in a regular exercise program, or meeting a minimum of physical activity

Obesity: Body Mass Index over 30 (calculated by taking Weight in pounds/ Height in inches squared times 704

Family History: a family history of heart attack, heart disease, or sudden death.  Typically the earlier age onset the higher the risk.

Age: risk increases greatly for men over 45 and women over 55

And of course you can always consult your friendly Health Care Professional to assist further in this matter.  So now that we have identified some areas to consider, let’s take a look at lifestyle changes we can make that may help reduce the risk of them affecting us.

• Exercise Regularly

• Reduce exposure to or change emotional reaction to stress

• Reduce caffeine intake

• Avoid excessive alcohol intake

• Stop smoking

• Consume a high-fiber diet, low-bad fat diet

• Decrease cholesterol level

• Control high blood pressure

• Maintain ideal healthy weight

The proof is definitely in the pudding. Incorporating exercise, proper nutrition, and rest into our routines as a way of life is a huge step in the right direction to increase our chances of staying heart healthy. You can do this!

Until next time please go out and make it a healthy and nutritious day!  To get started on healthy weight loss,  active energy, sports performance, toning, and wellness nutrition products call Reggie at (405) 613-0237.  Ask about the 24 day challenge nutrition bundle that jumpstarts weight loss, tones you up, gives you more energy, and improves your health!

Reggie Grovey is a local 21-year fitness professional and nationally certified personal trainer and Advocare Nutrition independent distributor.