Did you know February is American Heart Month and Cancer Prevention Month? Every year, health care professionals, advocacy organizations, and the legal community join countless individuals and families across the country to raise awareness about heart disease and cancer, and facilitate needed support. For good reason too. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and one-in-four people will develop cancer at some point in their lifetimes.
As you can imagine, a positive diagnosis can be devastating as patients and their families often suffer physical and emotional distress on top of intense life concerns and practical challenges. The good news, however, is that while heart disease and cancer have undeniable genetic components, there are steps everyone can take to limit the risk of developing these painful, and potentially deadly, diseases.
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, overall incidence of heart disease can be significantly reduced when people make healthy choices and manage their existing health conditions. What is more, controlling and preventing risk factors is just as important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk consider these tips:
- Watch your weight
- Do not smoke and stay away from secondhand smoke
- Control your cholesterol and blood pressure
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation
- Exercise and eat as healthy as possible
Cancer prevention involves many of these same lifestyle and health choices. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the choices people make about a healthy body weight, balanced diet, and regular exercise can reduce the chances of developing different types of cancer. The impact can be enormous. About 40 percent of cancer cases are believed to be preventable, which means roughly 694,000 cases of cancer could be prevented in the U.S. every year simply by reducing exposure to common, controllable risk factors.
When it comes to heart disease and cancer, a healthy lifestyle is the smartest, safest bet anyone can make. If you or someone you know would like more information, do not wait to start researching. Staying healthy is just as important to your elder care as ensuring that your estate planning and elder law planning documents are up-to-date. If you have questions on whether or not you are as protected as you can be for this, and all future challenges that arise as you age, we encourage you to contact our office and schedule a meeting today.