At San Diego Orthopedics we strive to promote a healthier lifestyle and in our quest we not only write about dealing with knee pain or shoulder injuries but also about leading a healthy lifestyle.
Anyone hoping to read that heart attacks in men (and women) can be prevented by eating fast food, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, drinking moderately, and living a sedentary lifestyle will be very disappointed by the next few paragraphs. Everything we know that is bad for us, is bad for us for a reason. Smoking cigars or cigarettes, along with eating poorly, causes a myriad of problems, compound that with little or no exercise, and you are a ticking time bomb for a heart attack. While you may have a perfectly healthy 99 year old uncle that has eaten a pound of bacon and a bottle of whiskey every day for 70 years, he is very much the exception.
Believe it or not, but 4 out of 5 heart attacks can actually be prevented by eating healthier, managing weight, cutting out cigarettes, and keeping alcohol to a minimum. It looks easy on paper, but in reality, it is difficult to maintain and often requires conscious effort. Less than 2 percent of Americans actually make healthy life choices on a daily basis. An unhealthy lifestyle can lead to more than just heart attacks. Extra weight on the body can cause knee pain and back pain, along with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other chronic diseases.
A study done in Sweden on 20,000 men over 11 years showed that not smoking lowered men’s risk of heart attacks by 36 percent. Eating healthy lowered the risk of heart attacks by 18 percent, the risk for men having less than a 37 inch waist was lowered by 12 percent, and those who exercised about an hour a day had a 3 percent lower risk. If a man does all of the above combined, his percentage of a heart attack decreases by 69 percent.
Not only will keeping a healthier lifestyle reduce risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol (which clogs arteries and causes heart attacks), but it will keep the bones healthier and stronger. Extra weight puts pressure on the knees which can lead to a trip to an orthopedist for pain due to knee osteoarthritis, which can eventually turn into a knee replacement. While older men may put off knee replacement surgery due to their age, having it done can be a literal lifesaver.
Think about this: an overweight, older man who smokes and is not very active begins to have knee pain. The knee pain grows worse, which causes the man to move around even less. His sedentary lifestyle leads to more overeating, overeating leads to more weight gain, and now there is even more pressure on the knee. The risk of heart attack is increasing each day.
If you are a gentleman 45 years or older your risk of having a heart attack becomes greater every year. While leading a healthier lifestyle seems like hard work now, your heart will thank you in the end.