Most of us can have healthy bodies and active lifestyles into our eighties if we take good care of our bodies. Moderate exercise and healthy eating are two of the key steps.* However, too many of us are obese, smoke, eat poorly, and use alcohol to excess. Cardiovascular disease can be the result when the body is neglected.
*Younger Next Year, Crowley and Lodge
Oklahomans are the third highest in the nation in cardiovascular disease death rates.* The rates of obesity, aerobic inactivity, and smoking are abysmal. An estimated 32.2% of adults are obese (875,000); 28.3% of adults are physically inactive (770,000); and 630,000 adults still smoke.**
*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010
**United Health Foundation, 2013
The William K. Warren Foundation is funding cardiovascular health education programs that are making a difference for Oklahomans. Support for the American Heart Association is one example. The American Heart Association’s smoking cessation programs are amongst the leaders in the field. These programs, combined with strong statewide advocacy by the American Heart Association, have contributed to Oklahoma’s smoking prevalence dropping from 26.1 % to 23.3% of adults in the past year.*
*United Health Foundation, 2013
“David” (name changed to ensure privacy) is a partner at a Tulsa-area accounting firm. A smoker since beginning as early as age 14, he had been born with a functional heart murmur. Doctors said he would “grow out of it,” which he did. However, the murmur returned later in life. An American Heart Association partner was providing free blood pressure screenings in downtown Tulsa, and David decided to do it on a whim. His numbers were off the charts. He went to his doctor for further tests and realized the heart murmur had returned due to hypertension as a result of smoking. He knew if he wanted to live a long life, he couldn't be a smoker.
David has been able to control his blood pressure without medication by quitting smoking and getting into an exercise routine. More importantly, David established a relationship with a cardiologist and educated himself about his heart health. He’s been keeping track of his numbers and getting a complete annual evaluation. As a result of his experience, David is now actively involved in the Tulsa American Heart Association.