A Healthy Lifestyle (Almost) Eliminates Sudden Cardiac Death

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Filed Under: Heart Health, Heart Attack
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Logic dictates that a healthy lifestyle would reduce the incidence of fatal heart attacks (also known as SCD, or sudden cardiac death). Now, a major study not only confirmed that logic but, for the first time, put up actual numbers showing that a healthy lifestyle may practically eliminate SCD—by up to 80 percent!

That was the conclusion drawn from an assessment of questionnaires filled out periodically by participants in the Harvard-based 81,000-strong Nurse’s Health study, who have been followed for decades.

A healthy lifestyle was defined as:

  • Not smoking. Smoking causes sludgy, viscous, and inflamed blood. Stopping smoking can improve your heart health, tremendously.
  • Avoiding an overweight body mass index (higher than 25).
  • Doing 30 minutes or more of daily physical activity.
  • Eating a Mediterranean type diet emphasizing vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish, and olive oil.
  • Having a moderate alcohol intake.

These study results were music to my ears, because I have been preaching these very same things to my patients—and to you—over the years.

Cutting out smoking is a no-brainer. So is doing regular exercise. Maintaining a normal weight clearly reduces inflammatory compounds produced by body fat, while a Mediterranean diet is basically an anti-inflammatory diet. Both of these are key to preventing the root cause of heart disease: inflammation.

Now it’s your turn: Which of these healthy habits do you practice?

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