Beware: America’s Number One Killer is on the Loose

CHRISTIAN CRISTIANO

WELLNESS--Did you know that heart disease is the number 1 killer of Americans today? With February being Heart Awareness Month let’s talk about a few ways to increase our heart health and add to the longevity of the most important muscle in our body. 

 

SLEEP:

We all hear we should get our 8 hours a night, but did you know that there is a link between sleep deprivation and heart disease. A Harvard study notes that just one night of disturbed or inadequate sleep for people with existing hypertension can cause high blood pressure the entire next day. The study also points out that too little sleep or too much sleep, usually 6 and 9 hours respectively, was linked to an increase in coronary heart disease in women.  

Once we reach adulthood most of us know how much sleep we actually need to maximize our health and wellbeing. Some people are tempted to stay up late into the night, but then have to wake up early for work depriving them much needed sleep. If you are someone that needs to wake up early for work, you are better off going to sleep at a reasonable hour to ensure enough hours of sleep. For those of you that love to stay up late, practice getting ready for bed earlier. You can simply wash your face and put on your pajamas at an hour you would like to go to bed to start to train your brain to go to bed earlier. 

Making sure your room is very dark is also important. Evidence suggests that even a small amount of light coming into the room when we are sleeping has an effect on our brains during sleep and blocking our abilities to get a deep restful nights sleep. 

EXERCISE:

The American Heart Association puts the number of deaths a year caused by a simple lack of exercise at 250,000. The study goes on to say that even people in midlife that change jobs or careers and start to do a job that requires physical activity actually lengthen their lifespan. This is a clear indication that simply put, we should all be exercising on a regular basis, and if you have never worked out a day in your life and you’re over 40, its not too late! With 33 percent of Americans classified as obese, it is more urgent than ever to start a fitness regimen.  

Many people find group classes helpful for the interaction and social support they get from being in a room full of people while exercising. Others prefer to work out alone or hire a trainer for 1 on 1 session. Very often for people that are not working out, they need to look at what they have been trying up until this point. If those things have never worked, it may be time to try something new. 

Over-eating and not working out often go hand in hand so groups like weight watchers or over eaters anonymous are also great options for those of you that have been struggling with no success for years. It’s quite common for there to be an emotional component to excess weight or a lack of drive to hit the gym. With February being heart health awareness month, it’s the perfect month to get back into a routine. Find a work out buddy and start a regimen together!  

 

(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

-cw

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