The recent death of James Gandolfini brought with it some debate about heart health. Considering the American Heart Association acknowledges that 60% of heart attacks are caused by simple lifestyle choices, the debate is well deserved.
The actor, best known for his role as Tony Soprano in HBO hit series The Sopranos, suffered a heart attack and died while on vacation in Italy last month. A beloved man onscreen and off, Gandolfini’s sudden death drew concern, spurring people to speculate about the cause of his heart failure. No foul play was suspected and eventually, many people drew the conclusion that his overweight figure and propensity for eating, drinking, and smoking likely contributed to his heart attack.
Middle aged men like Gandolfini are especially at risk for heart failure and sudden death. Even a good diet won’t protect you as much as it should if you are living a high stress life. Middle aged men, particularly businessman with high paying jobs, often live and work in extremely high stress environments. Stress is one of the biggest risk factors for heart attacks, so people who are part of this demographic must take extra care to ensure they are taking steps to reduce the factors that induce stress in their lives. Stress isn’t the only thing putting men at risk, though.
More than 60 percent of heart attacks can be heavily attributed to simple lifestyle choices like diet, exercise, smoking, drinking, high-stress environments, and high blood pressure and cholesterol. All of these things can easily be altered or treated to help you live a healthier life; unfortunately, many people ignore the potential consequences of their poor choices until it is too late.
Richard A. Stein, director of preventive cardiology at Beth Israel Medical Center and spokesperson for the American Heart Association, explained that, “In half of the cases of heart attacks, the heart attack is the first time the patient finds out about heart disease.”
Are You At Risk?
Although men are more at risk, heart disease can affect any one and its prevalence should make heart health a top priority for Americans. Heart disease is the top killer in the United States for both men and women. Despite the fact that more men suffer from heart attacks than women, 38% of women die within a year after having a heart attack, compared to only 25% of men.
A healthy diet can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, but managing the stress in your life is important, too. Exercise is a great approach, and yoga and meditation are particularly helpful for dealing with stress.
Smoking is another one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease. This proves especially true in older people, as the risk of dying from a heart attack is 60 percent higher for smokers than nonsmokers 65 or older. Additionally, according to the American Lung Association, cigarette smokers have a far greater chance of developing Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia compared to nonsmokers.
Heeding these statistics and avoiding risk factors like a high stress environment, smoking, and a lack of exercise are crucial for a healthy heart. Protecting yourself against the risk is important both physically and financially.
Heart Disease and Long Term Care
Heart disease is one of the top reasons that people need long term care. Often, after a heart attack, people require physical rehabilitation or some sort of assisted care to help them complete daily tasks. Typically, once you have been released from the hospital, health insurance no longer covers your care.
Good nutrition and exercise are key to protecting yourself against the risk of long term care; unfortunately, despite our best efforts, many medical disasters happen regardless of good health. So, while maintaining your health and managing your diet and fitness regimen are important, preparing yourself for a financially draining medical expense is also necessary.
Long Term Care Insurance helps cover the high cost of care once you have left the hospital. If you ever suffer from heart disease, a stroke, a bad fall, or any other debilitating condition, you may need long term care. The cost of this kind of care is skyrocketing, averaging on the low end $45,000 a year for in-home health care up to $85,000 for a nursing home. The majority of Americans are unable to absorb this cost out of pocket and if they don’t have insurance, are commonly exhausted of all their assets in the process of paying for care. Medicaid picks up the cost for much of the long term care services in this country, as the cost is just too high to cover if you haven’t planned for it.
Our agents can help you choose a Long Term Care Insurance policy perfect for your specific needs, based on your target budget. We will be happy to guide you through the process of buying a plan and investing in your health. We want our clients to be informed about their options and prepared for the future. If you are interested in LTCI, please call us today at 1-800-800-6139 or fill out our quote request form and we will be in touch with you shortly.