Tuesday, November 15, 2016
How a Healthy Lifestyle Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease
Every year, about 17 million people die of coronary heart disease. Heart disease is common and in many cases genetic. A study by Dr. Sekar Kathiresan and his colleagues showed that healthy living habits such as eating healthy, exercising, and not smoking can decrease genetic risk. By recording and analyzing data from more than 55,000 people, Dr. Kathiresan has attempted the first major research to compare the effects of genes and lifestyle on heart disease. Dr. Kathiresan and his team "found that genes can double the risk of heart disease, but a good lifestyle cuts it in half. Just as important, they found, a terrible lifestyle erases about half of the benefits of good genetics." In a study of four separate populations, the researchers found a correlation between a healthy lifestyle and genetic risk. Healthy lifestyles led to decreased genetic risk and less calcium in coronary arteries. The results were consistent and convincing, which was astonishing considering the populations were very varied.
This article spoke to me because I have a history of heart disease in my family. Both of my grandfathers died rather young from heart attacks. This research showed me that even if you have a high risk of having heart disease, it is in your power to do something about it. By eating healthy, exercising, and not smoking, you significantly lower your risk of heart disease. An example of a healthy diet is one with fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and whole grain. One should try to exercise for at least an hour every day. Smoking is harmful to plenty more than just your heart so it should absolutely be avoided. I plan on taking the evidence of this research and spreading the word on having a healthier lifestyle.