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Transcript for Podcast: Is Your Heart in it to Win it?

These days, you find them everywhere: on TV, the radio, in newspapers and magazines, and I’m guessing some have even found their way into your email. I’m talking about healthy living tips! You’re not alone if you feel overloaded with information. Nonetheless, it’s a fact that creating a healthier lifestyle will not only help you feel better, it’s crucial to the strength and functioning of your heart. Did you know that every day your heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles? In a lifetime, that’s equivalent to driving to the moon and back! Your heart is working hard to keep you going. It’s your turn to work hard to keep it going!

Heart disease, also called cardiovascular disease, is a broad term that can be used to describe several problems related to your heart. Most often, cardiovascular disease refers to arteriosclerosis, or arterial disease, caused by plaque buildup in the arteries. Overtime, this build up can limit blood flow and lead to heart attack or stroke. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, and about one event each minute will be deadly. The chance of developing heart disease can be reduced by taking steps to prevent and control factors that put people at greater risk. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, low physical activity, high body fat, diabetes, family history, and smoking offer the highest risk.

One major risk factor in heart disease -- cigarette smoking -- appears to impact individuals who experience a psychiatric disability more than others. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, nearly half of all the cigarettes sold in the U.S. are smoked by people who experience a serious psychiatric disability. Individuals with psychiatric disabilities consume 50% more cigarettes a day than the general population. In addition to cigarette smoking, individuals in recovery are also twice as likely to be impacted by obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. In fact, up to 80% of individuals with a psychiatric disability are overweight or are impacted by obesity.

A healthy lifestyle is the foundation to prevent heart disease. Even if you have already been diagnosed with some form of heart disease, lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of serious problems in the future. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention offers several suggestions for monitoring your health:

It’s fairly common knowledge that many Americans struggle with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but for individuals who experience a psychiatric disability, it can be even harder. Managing emotions, medications, and lifestyle changes can be daunting. Remember, even making small or inexpensive changes can have big results. Try starting with small goals such as:

Set yourself up to succeed by starting with small goals that will make a big difference in the length and quality of your life. If you’re not sure where to start, think, “Is my heart in it; will my heart benefit from this activity?” If the answer is yes, then you are right on track.

For more information about heart health, and the statistics mentioned in this podcast, look online for The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,, and the Million Hearts Campaign.

Podcast information from:
Million Hearts Campaign
Avraham, Regina. 2000. The Circulatory System. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House Publishers.

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