As you may have heard, former president George W. Bush underwent a heart procedure today to treat a blocked artery. In line with common procedure, doctors inserted a stent, a small mesh tube, to open the blockage and return normal blood flow to the heart. Bush is expected to be up and kicking by tomorrow.
Roughly half a million people in the United States every year have stents inserted, and just over 11% of non-institutionalized adults have diagnosed heart disease. It is the number one cause of death in the United States, claiming nearly 600,000 lives every year.
Bush is 67 years old, a year older than the average age for men’s first heart attacks. Men, in general, tend to have a higher risk for coronary artery disease and heart attacks earlier in life, though genetics, weight, and other heath conditions play a larger role in determining risk. “Metabolic syndrome” is a pre-diabetic condition heavily associated with heart disease, and it is diagnosed when three of the following are present:
- Abdominal obesity
- Low HDL cholesterol
- High triglyceride levels
- High blood pressure
- Insulin resistance
- Stop smoking – For more reasons than one, of course!
- Maintain a good diet – Including plenty of vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and high-fiber foods
- Reduce blood cholesterol – Through diet, exercise, and, as a last resort, medication
- Stay active – To lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce stress – Important at all ages!
- Limit alcohol – Too much can raise blood pressure and add to weight gain
We wish George W. a quick recovery, and we hope this very public incident helps raise awareness about the prevalence and dangers of heart disease. Take measures now to reduce your risk, and stay healthy everyone!