Promoting a Healthy Heart in Your 30′s
February is National Heart Disease Awareness Month. As a trusted advisor of Heart Health in New Jersey, MD Wellness is posting a series of articles addressing targeted age groups.
Each day,heart disease, “the silent killer” destroys the lives of thousands of people in the United States. In fact, the Center for Disease Control estimates that 600,000 Americans die of heart disease each year, the cause of roughly 1 in every 4 deaths. Furthermore, every year almost 935,000 suffer from a heart attack. This is indeed very disturbing news. But the good news is, that heart disease is almost completely preventable. The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” definitely applies to heart disease. Do not wait, start protecting yourself today!
Empowering Healthy Living
At this stage in your life, it is likely that you’ve chosen your career path and have even started a family. Consequently, you are very likely putting in many stressful hours at the office and having your sleep interrupted by a crying infant. While you may enjoy the adrenaline rush of long, eventful days, working late and getting up early, this type of high productivity lifestyle can exact a toll in the long run. You may be taxing your adrenal glands to produce excessive quantities of Cortisol and Adrenaline, two adrenal stress hormones that over time can constrict blood flow to your vital organs, disturb your body chemistry, raise your blood pressure and your cholesterol and lead to other signs and symptoms of chronic unwellness. Many Americans are prescribed medication such as beta blockers, diuretics, and calcium channel blockers to treat high blood pressure, statin drugs to lower cholesterol and a myriad of remedies to block out other annoying symptoms. These drugs may help to lower your blood pressure and reduce your “bad cholesterol” but they do NOT fix your underlying problems caused by excessive stress. More importantly, these drugs do NOT reduce your risk for heart disease and other chronic degenerative diseases. Dr. Michael Rothman has some advice, stay off the medication roller coaster and get to the root cause of your ailments.
Learn what areas of your life are causing your stress and make an effort to reduce them as much as possible. Also, harmful stress results not only from the situation you find ourselves in, but in the way you react to that situation. When you are experiencing an acutely stressful event, try to remain in a calm, composed state. Use your intellect to reduce your emotional response. Using stress reduction techniques like abdominal breathing can be extremely beneficial in limiting the harmful effects of emotionally mediated stress hormones.
Imagine you are stuck in traffic in your car and are expected to be at a meeting. What are you going to do? You could start screaming, yelling, cursing, and literally freaking out at the prospect of being tardy. Or you could calmly rationalize that this situation was unexpected and not your fault. You could then make a phone call, apologize for any inconvenience you may have caused, put on the radio and have a good time listening to one of your favorite songs. Same situation, two totally different responses. The lesson to be learned with this example is that how you respond to a situation is perhaps even more important that the situation itself.
For significant life complications such as financial hardship, illness in your family or some other long term unpleasant situation which can cause chronic stress it’s best of course to try to remediate the situation. The next best action is to learn to minimize your stress through specific techniques or activities. Take up yoga, meditation, or some other activity that allows you to experience the “relaxation response”. Learning to “turn off your brain” is a useful skill that you as a high functioning adult must have at your disposal. In addition to mind – body techniques, finding inner peace requires two other practices, forgiveness and faith.
Stress often causes you to have negative emotions like hate or resentment towards yourself and/others. Learning to forgive yourself and others allows you to move on with your life and start to heal. Faith is also very important, both in yourself and the positive outcomes as a result of your beliefs. While embracing faith, it is important to not become a victim of fear. Fear of loss, whether financial loss, loss of your health, loss of a loved one, or any other kind of loss is one of the underlying causes of stress.
You Must Get Adequate Sleep and Rest
A habitually stressful life style can adversely affect your sleep in many ways, through sleep deprivation, poor quality sleep and insomnia. Inadequate sleep, regardless of the cause will make all of your health issue much, much worse through derangement of your nervous, hormone, and immune systems. Poor sleep will, over time contribute to massive metabolic imbalances that can lead to weight gain, elevated blood sugars, high blood pressure and ultimately heart disease. Your sleep must be in a calm, quiet, darkened and peaceful environment for a minimum of 7-8 hours each night. Otherwise, poor health will eventually ensue.
Thirty-somethings are frequently sprinting through their days with a never ending list of responsibilities. Learning to prioritize your health is paramount to a long and healthy life. Unfortunately many thirty-somethings are pushing themselves to the limit and at the same time attempting to self medicate against stress, fatigue and other symptoms with all sorts of vitamins, minerals, herbs and assorted prescription and over the counter medications . It’s important to understand that you cannot fool Mother Nature, and eventually any and all unhealthy habits on your part are like an outstanding bill that must eventually be “paid in full”. Make sure to put healthy deposits into your health “bank account” on a daily basis by balancing out your work and play, and your rest and recovery. Make an sound investment and visit Dr. Michael Rothman and MD Wellness in Red Bank, NJ for guidance in sustaining a long and healthy life.
Don’t have time to make it into the office? Purchase Edibolic Stress, How The Lies You Are Being Fed Are Making You Sick by Michael E. Rothman M.D., FACEP and Editor/Co-writer Ken Bruck.