A. Ask your doctor if you should take a daily aspirin. If he says yes, take it.
B. Blood pressure control. Find out if you have high blood pressure or hypertension. If you do, treat it.
C. Cholesterol. If you have cardiovascular risk because of high cholesterol, manage it.
CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden has said, "One of the things we hope the Million Hearts initiative will achieve is to get cardiovascular care right. As a country, we are doing very poorly -- only 47 percent of people with a prior cardiovascular event take aspirin, 46 percent have their blood pressure under control, 33 percent have their cholesterol under control, and only a small fraction of smokers who want to quit are getting evidence-based treatments proven to increase quitting."
We have the power
Within each of us is the decision-making power to choose better for ourselves. Do we choose to allow known behavior that is risky to take us down or do we choose a better fate?
Are you addicted to tobacco? Get help to quit. Don't assume because you've tried before and failed that you can't. If you want to quit, you can. There are successful strategies that will make it easier.
Are your diet habits making it more likely you will have heart disease? Small changes, such as limiting sodium and trans fats, make magnificent differences in your health. Small steps have a way of multiplying. You are in charge. Give yourself at least a fighting chance.
How about D and E?
Diet -- Think a healthy diet is complicated? Not so much. Small portion of lean chicken, fish, beef or pork (grilled) along with plenty of vegetables/fruits and you are on your way to a longer life.
Exercise -- Get physical for at least 30 minutes a day. You don't have to do it all at once. Add up the minutes -- 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there. Check that box and you may just avoid a heart incident or stroke.
Will you be one in a million?
You've only got one ticket to life, so I'm hoping you don't waste it. It's time to commit to a few healthy choices. Do this and watch your risk of dying of heart disease or stroke plummet by 80 percent. I want you to be one of the Million Hearts saved.
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified instructor/trainer since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to her at YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or e-mail cindys...@aol.com. Look for Cindy's award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World," at www.cindysays.com, or contact the YMCA at 304-340-3527.