Home  >  Carol LeBeau  >  Carol's Health Journal | 01. February 2011

Love Your Heart

01. February 2011

Did you know about every 25 seconds, an American has a coronary health event? Sadly, that sobering statistic gets even worse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each minute, one American will die from some form of heart disease. It’s also a major cause of disability in the US.

I’m not trying to be a downer here, but the numbers don’t lie. This is the time of year we focus on heart health. February is American Heart Month. What better time to learn what’s new in the fight against this killer disease.

Fortunately, there is some good news to report. The American Heart Association recently released last year’s top 10 advances in cardiovascular research, and it’s encouraging.

We know, for instance, those with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those without diabetes. But now, doctors know more about tailoring treatment for these patients to minimize their risk.

With “Hands Only CPR,” we have improved the way we reverse sudden, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. And with new implantable devices and pacing therapies, more patients are being successfully treated for abnormal heart rhythms.

In what used to be a risky move, researchers have discovered new ways to find the best anti-clotting (anti-platelet) therapy… improving patient outcomes. And there’s even a hopeful new procedure for infants with congenital heart disease.

But for me, the most exciting finding is actually the most low-tech. Doctors are now successfully using “science” to support how a healthy lifestyle can reduce heart attack risk. In other words, exercise and a change in diet really do work! It’s not just anecdotal. It’s no longer a theory. There’s scientific proof that moving more and eating better can keep you from becoming a heart disease statistic.

What’s sad is that many of us are still mired in bad lifestyle habits that could be setting us up for disaster. Palomar Health interventional cardiologist, Dr. Dennis Leahy reminded me we’ve known about the link between a healthy lifestyle and a reduction in cardiovascular disease since the 50’s! That’s when the results of the seminal Framingham Health Study began to come out. 60 years later, the evidence is even stronger. Even so, Dr. Leahy says many of us just won’t pull the trigger when it comes to making healthy choices.

I recently talked with Dr. Leahy about the modern-day dilemma. The popular north county doctor has not only been treating patients with cardiovascular disease for more than 30 years… he practices the healthy lifestyle he preaches!

Check out my interview with Dr. Leahy… Palomar Health’s own “surfing cardiologist” by clicking on the “Be” section.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.