How do you know if you’re likely to have a heart attack? If you’re like most folks, you have no idea.
There is a significant knowledge gap between what people think their risk of heart disease is and what it actually is. In general, people are ignorant about what is happening to their bodies, especially as they age. In spite of studies and literature exhorting people to improve their heath, the only health behaviors that improved over the past few decades is that we now wear seat belts (from 14% in 1983 to 81% in 2008) and smoking rates are half of what they were 60 years ago. The vast majority of people do not get anywhere near the recommended amount of exercise—they eat too much of the wrong food and obesity rates are rising.
What most people do NOT know is that obesity tends to dramatically raise bad cholesterol and blood pressure, which are strong risk factors for heart attacks. Research conducted in a Gallop poll and published in “Diabetes Barometer” has found that 80% of people who are NOT diagnosed with diabetes did not know that obesity contributes to its development – and 90% did not understand that inactivity does as well. However once they are diagnosed, 9 out of 10 diabetics understand that obesity contributed to their condition, but it is too late to undo the damage. This same “knowledge gap” exists with people at risk for developing heart attacks.
In fact one study showed that 9 out of 10 patients who had a heart attack were NOT taking recommended preventative medications.1
What can you do? Learn YOUR Heart Attack Risk
Medicom Health Interactive created the Heart Attack Risk Calculator for the American Heart Association:
- Learn YOUR risk and for the risks of your loved ones
- Print the results and take them to your doctor
- University of Minnesota,https://www.ahc.umn.edu/media/releases/heartattackprevention/index.htm, accessed Jan. 10, 2011.