According to the Center for Disease Control, a shocking one in four people will die from a heart-related disease. That equals about 610,000 people per year in the United States alone. These statistics are consistent among both men and women, proving the disease’s widespread reach.
Despite its mass impact, heart disease is not often discussed. That’s why Lindsay Guion – the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of GUION PARTNERS is passionate about raising awareness and promoting education on how to minimize its risks. Having suddenly lost his own father to the disease, he is committed to promoting the American Heart Association (AHA), an organization that educates people on all facets of healthy living in order to help decrease deaths caused by cardiovascular disease.
While some risk factors are uncontrollable, many can be manipulated to effectively reduce the chances of heart disease and stroke. Using the guidelines set forth by the AHA, Lindsay Guion outlines how to minimize the risk of heart disease in the hopes that others will be able to avoid it and live longer, healthier lives.
Keep cholesterol low
Your heart relies on your arteries; if you have high cholesterol, you’re putting a lot of strain and pressure on them which increases the risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack. To minimize that risk, check your cholesterol regularly, reduce saturated fats, eliminate trans fats, and eat plenty of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Control blood pressure
Of the risk factors within your control, your blood pressure is one of the most important and most closely tied to heart disease. On top of checking it regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and reducing sodium can all help to keep your blood pressure in check.
Reduce alcohol consumption
Your blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors when it comes to heart disease, and regularly consuming alcohol is known to cause it to skyrocket. Excess beer, wine or liquor consumption also packs on empty calories, which leads to weight gain and obesity—another leading risk factor.
While Lindsay Guion and leading medical professionals agree that alcohol can be okay when intake is minimal, reducing or even eliminating is ultimately a positive step towards a healthier, lower-risk lifestyle.
On top of negatively impacting your lungs and respiratory system, smoking raises your blood pressure and increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. If you smoke in any capacity, even rarely or casually, quitting can significantly improve your health and minimize risk factors. Lindsay Guion suggests that those who need help eliminating cigarettes and tobacco from their lives speak to their doctors about implementing an effective plan to quit.
Your physical self and mental state are intimately connected—if you’re stressed, your body is more likely to be “triggered” into a heart attack. While stress itself is sometimes unavoidable, Lindsay Guion and the American Heart Association recommend finding healthy, effective ways to handle it. A few solutions might include exercising, meditation, journaling, and listening to calming music.
Supporting the Cause
Beyond working towards guarding yourself against the chances of contracting heart disease, Lindsay Guion also asks that you consider supporting the movement to raise awareness of the disease.
This support can take many forms, and could include participating in a heart walk, wearing red on the first Friday of February to show support for women’s heart health awareness, or donating funds to research initiatives. All donations made to the American Heart Association are critical in helping the organization further research and improve patient support.