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Melting Icebergs Harden Hearts

Filed Under: Environment,Sexual Health at 2:53 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
IcebergSince 1900, cardiovascular disease has been the leading cause of death in the United States every year but one (1918 – when pneumonia overtook heart disease). So, that’s 106 years out of 107 in which heart problems have killed more Americans than anything else.  Yet, we continue to make choices that increase rather than decrease our risk.  For example, rather than eating fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, we consume starchy, fat-filled, calorie-packed, nutrient-lacking foods. Instead of moving for 30 minutes each day, we watch TV, play video games and go online. And, rather than avoid tobacco smoke, we crowd into smoke-filled, cramped bars and restaurants for hours each week, inhaling a great deal of carcinogens regardless of whether or not we’ve actually touched a cigarette.  The list goes on. Every day we learn of another factor that heightens our chances of cardiovascular disease. And today, that factor is global warming

Most of us already know that more heart problems occur during warmer weather. The 2003 European heat wave, after all, claimed 35,000 more people than expected in the first two weeks of August alone. And the majority of those deaths were due to cardiovascular complications. The reason for this is that when humans are hot, we sweat. Sweating, in turn, increases our heart rate and lowers our blood pressure. This is extremely dangerous for people, particularly older people, who have a weakened cardiovascular system. They are put at a higher risk for disease. Therefore it’s only logical to conclude that if the Earth’s temperature rises so will the cardiovascular disease rate.

And that is exactly what doctors around the world have done. They have begun warning that a warmer climate, over the next 50 years, will lead to more heart complications. So, this means that in addition to everything else we’re doing, or not doing, to protect ourselves from heart disease we have to add “stop global warming” to the list, which really isn’t such a bad idea, anyway. Doing a little something for the environment never hurts. No matter what the temperature, you still live here and things like CO2 emissions are going to hurt your home and your health. So, take a walk instead of a drive; recycle. Use a reusable water bottle; go green. Save the Earth; save your heart.


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