You’re concerned about high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, cancer risks, being overweight and other health problems.
And you should be. After all, these are many of the main death risk factors. Most of us don’t want to die so we take measures to reduce our risks.
There is, however, sometimes a pretty drastic scare campaign running that I believe is at least partly fueled by the drug companies.
You hear that having high blood pressure can double, even triple your risk of heart attack and stroke. Same goes for high cholesterol. And how many times do we read about new risk factors for cancer.
There is an old saying “Figures lie and liars figure.” And that applies as much for health stats as well as the stock market.
That’s why in today’s feature article I’ll drill into some of those “risk factors” and show you exactly what those numbers mean.
You maybe surprised to find out how likely it actually is that you’ll stay alive
The best way to start on this subject is to look at the major cause of death in the western world. Cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attack count for about 1/3 of all deaths in USA. About 800,000 people die from the major cardiovascular diseases.
And we’ve all learned about the major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases:
– High blood pressure
– High cholesterol
– Being overweight
– Lack of physical activity
But in that, we’ve left out the biggest risk factor of them all-the one that overwrites everything else. That is aging.
The fact is that almost half of all deaths by cardiovascular disease happen after the age of 85. Two thirds happen after the age of 75. So we could say you triple your risk of dying of heart attack by making it through the age of 75.
Of course, most of us would want to live forever but I think that we can all agree that making it to the age 85 is a success we can be happy with. We kind of accept death at that age as normal part of life.
Now let’s take a look at the other risk factors.
To make my point clearer, I’m going to take an example of a 55 year old man and his risk of having a heart attack in the next 10 years. I’ll use a point system developed to determine heart attack risk.
For a healthy 55 year old man who doesn’t smoke with healthy blood pressure below 120/80 and cholesterol level under 160, he still has about 2% risk of having a heart attack in the next ten years. About 1/3 of heart attacks are fatal so that would be about 0.7% risk of dying from heart attack.
Now either raising his systolic blood pressure to 200 or cholesterol level to 240 will DOUBLE his risk of having, and dying from, a heart attack.
Hearing the phrase
DOUBLE YOUR RISK OF DYING
from something automatically triggers quite an emotional scare response.
But if you look at the numbers more closely, you’ll see that the risk of dying of heart attack for the next 10 years has only gone up 0.7%. And we’re talking about extremely high cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
So the fact is that to save one live every year, 1500 men with extremely high cholesterol or blood pressure levels would have to get their health completely under control.
What you should take from this is that every time you hear the medical system talk about a 30%, 50% or even 100% increase in risk associated by some factor, you need to ask what exactly was the base risk. If 100 people die of something worldwide every year and doing something doubles your risk, well, the risk is still pretty low.
Now don’t take me wrong. I’m a strong believer in getting your blood pressure and cholesterol level under control. I think that’s extremely important for several different reasons I’m going to list in a minute. But not at all costs.
I personally think, for example, that suffering the side effects of strong medications for decades to moderately lower a risk of heart attack is not worth it. Especially when there are other ways to reach the same goal that are more beneficial.
Note: I’m not a doctor or medical person. I’m stating my personal values and opinions based on studies I’ve read. You should never change your medications without consulting your doctor. The withdrawal symptoms can be fatal.
Improving your health should not be based on the fear of dying, especially when the risk is so low. It should be based on the will to improve your life and well being.
For our example, the 55 year old man’s smoking will increase his risk of having a heart attack about 3%. But the benefits of not smoking are endless. The increased endurance and well being associated with stopping smoking are well worth it for most people.
Losing weight will also decrease the risk of several other diseases. But the real kicker is the increased mobility and the improved positive self-image. Losing those extra pounds will make you feel great.
Lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure is not just about drastically decreasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. Blocking and hardening of the arteries are causing so many other health problems you may not be aware of.
For men, high cholesterol- and especially high blood pressure- is one of the major causes of erectile dysfunction. Drop the blue pill and get your stamina naturally. You can learn more about our simple erectile dysfunction exercises here…
High blood pressure has been linked to most health problems facing the mid-life population and older. Anything from cancer to Alzheimer’s has been associated with this one factor. That’s why the World Health Organization considers high blood pressure the number 1 cause of death worldwide.
There is, however, very little evidence that lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure using medications does anything to slash the risk of dying of heart attack and stroke or avoiding other health problems.
Using natural methods and choosing healthy lifestyles improves your overall health and well being. It’s not just a quick fix to bandage one thing.
The best methods I know to lower blood pressure naturally are Christian Goodman’s blood pressure exercises. You can learn more about them here…
And to drop your cholesterol without using drugs, check out the method I used not only to bring my cholesterol under control but also to remove the plaque that was almost completely blocking my heart. Learn more about my cholesterol approach here…
More important than lowering your risk of dying from something is to focus on living. Put your priorities in order and live every day as if it were the last. Think about what really matters to you and spend your life wisely on that.
Because when it’s our time to go, there’s very little we can do about it.
But first, please leave your comments below.
by Scott Davis