Is there a preventive test or tests a person can take to show heart disease, and/or a blockage.. Before you have any symptoms of a heart attack?
It is a simple question for which there should be a straightforward answer but he answer is actually very complicated. Yes. There are lots of test that can tell you if you are likely to get heart disease but if the question is: How can I prevent heart disease? My view is that heart disease is preventable. Can you imagine that a third of Americans will die from something that is preventable? I am over 70 years old and have never had a hint of heart disease. I play golf regularly with “The Shotmakers”, a fine group of men in Atlanta and we can all say about the same thing. Preventing heart disease is not a secret.
Fifty years ago, our teeth were in bad shape. We got tooth aches; we pulled the offending tooth, and eventually replaced them with false teeth. Dental labs were everywhere. Now, no dentist in the country can make a living pulling teeth. We did a public health thing by fluoridating he water, a clinical thing by asking people to do a check up twice per year and most importantly, The “Colgate” company persuaded us to brush and floss our teeth twice per day. So, my children are between 30 and 45 years old and none of them have ever had a tooth ache and that applies to just about everybody less than forty years old in this country. We can do the same thing with heart disease. Here are my seven steps to a lifetime of good health.
1. Go to a place of worship once a week and feed your soul and spirit. (African-Americans who go to church regularly, live 14 years longer that those who do not go to church.)
2. Keep your blood pressure under control. (High blood pressure is the greatest contributor to heart disease.)
3. Keep your cholesterol within normal limits. (clogged arteries)
4. Become lean but not necessarily mean. (Being overweight is not a beauty issue it is a health issue)
5. Eat sensibly, exercise daily and get a good night’s sleep
6. Don’t smoke
7. Access good (culturally sensitive) health care.
In the past, it was commonly believed that women had a natural protection and that’s why they lived seven years longer than men. Well, we found out that women only live longer because they have fewer risk factors. So, if women live like men (smoke, drink and take risks) like men, they will die like men.
Other resources from Black Health Matters