Heart Disease is not just for old guys anymore

Atherosclerosis or heart disease is not just for old guys anymore! Okay, sure, a 50-year-old man in the U.S. has a 1-in-2 risk of developing heart disease during the remaining years of his life. It’s official; the boys at Harvard Medical School did a study. Made me feel all warm inside when I discovered that little nugget…

You may know atherosclerosis by the other name it’s called: hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is an ancient Greek term. Athere is the Greek word for "forget it," while sclerosis means "you’re screwed." porridgeActually athere is Greek for "porridge" and sclerosis means "hardening." So, at 50 you get hard porridge. ("Hard Porridge" sounds like a German metal band, doesn't it?) Anyway, hardening of the porridge is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing, on average, one person every minute. Busy little sucker!

But atherosclerosis, our Harvard buddies tell us, can start in your teen years. Studies show kids as young as eleven are beginning to show signs of the problem, apparently from secondhand smoke! Through puberty, into their twenties, kid’s risk for heart disease goes up.

And now, the good news. There is no good news. For anyone 50 or older, anyway. Now, for younger folks? Younger folks may still have a chance. There’re six aspects of a youngster’s lifestyle they can work on to lower their risk of coronary artery disease to nearly zero:

Lower your overall cholesterol
Raise your good cholesterol (HDL)
Keep your blood pressure normal
Keep diabetes in check
Watch your weight
Don't smoke

So there's something to think about as you get those brats and polish sausages ready for the big Labor Day cookout: doctors say if you whippersnappers, 49 and under, do those six things you'll have only a 5% risk of a heart attack by the time you're 95 years old. Which, I guess, they're assuming you'll reach because you can add an average of 11 years to your life.

Now you may say life's no fun without Twinkies, Marlboros, and lots and lots of bacon. That's your choice. Don't say I didn't warn you... Now get off my lawn!


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