We’ve talked many times in these columns about the necessity of good nutrition and exercise for a healthy heart. Eating the proper foods and walking for 30 minutes daily can go a long way in controlling blood pressure and lipid levels in the blood. We’ve all heard it, we all talk about it but not all of us take the time to think about what we are going to eat or when or where we are going to exercise.
Consequently there are a lot of truckers with diseased hearts or poor circulation caused by weak hearts that try to pump blood through arteries that are slowly clogging up with the fats in their blood.
Try this: take a straw that you get at a restaurant to sip your soda with, now look through the end of that straw you see how clear it is, you can see the eye of your friend sitting in the seat across from you. That is how clear your artery starts out and your heart can pump blood through there with no problem. Now take that straw and stick the end of it in a pad of butter, take a toothpick and make a little hole in the butter in that straw and then look and see if you can still see your friend sitting across from you.
What we have demonstrated here is exactly what happens to your arteries if you allow cholesterol and other lipids to accumulate along the walls of your arteries. By allowing that build-up to continue you’re asking your heart to pump the same amount of blood that it used to pump through that nice clean straw, through a pin-sized hole that you created by not exercising, eating the wrong foods and not listening to your doctor if you have a hereditary problem. Yep, just like sticking that straw in that butter. We’ve discussed how your cholesterol level is measured in two ways: good cholesterol high- density lipoproteins (HDL) and bad cholesterol known as low-density lipoproteins or (LDL). Sounds a little like an old John Wayne western with good guys and bad guys.
Well, if old John were here he would tell you how important it is to regulate your LDL levels. Doctors now say that your LDL levels should be well under 100 and if possible close to 70. Your total cholesterol should be well under 200.
If you are not going to exercise or limit your intake of poor foods or if your doctor has told you that because of your genes your cholesterol and in particular, your LDL levels, are too high then you need to converse with your doctor about statin drugs such as Lipitor, manufactured by Pfizer, Zocor by Merck and Crestor by AstraZeneca. All have proven to lower LDL levels effectively but of course all have risks of side effects.
Before you get all worried about the side effects of these drugs remember the side effects of high LDL levels are heart attack, stroke and death. In some cases drugs are necessary evils that a lot of us have put ourselves in a position to need. Be thankful that there are companies that, although you have to pay a lot of money for it, they have developed drugs to help improve nature or make up for our poor choices.
In a recent study using the drug Crestor (AstraZeneca), amazingly high LDL levels were reversed. Unfortunately, Crestor seems to have the most serious side effects of the three drugs.
You can see that slowly but surely science is beginning to do some unique things to help us live longer and be more productive in spite of ourselves.
Nothing will ever take the place of proper nutrition, daily exercise and prayer to be a strong, healthy and happy person. Drugs are always going to interfere with the “happy” part. Do your best to make taking medications a last resort by taking care of yourself before you find yourself in a compromised position health-wise.
When we are in our twenties and thirties we set the stage for our forties, fifties and beyond.
It seems we are invincible until we are in our forties and then life starts to throw a couple of “curve” balls. We start to learn we are not invincible, we are not superman; we have some real aches and pains. If we continue down the path of turning a blind eye to growing health issues when we get into our mid fifties the prospect of an early death becomes very real.
It’s never too late to get healthier and give it your best shot to live a longer, happier and more productive life. Get a thorough health exam, consume healthy foods and beneficial supplements, exercise, laugh, count your blessings and relax.
Our children and the younger generation are our future. Don’t sell yourself short in how you can teach by example.
Fitness Road can help you get healthy. Call us at (888) 348-7623 or get on www.fitnessroad.com and check our programs and products.
God bless you and yours, Mick.
The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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