Heart disease is not something that we need to educate the public on. Everyone’s got ideas on how to prevent heart disease.
But, apparently, there’s some massive disconnect between what we need to do and what we are doing. A recently study revealed that not a single person out of 1,731 were living a lifestyle that included Life’s Simple 7 established by the American Heart Association. Not a single one.
But I’m confident that not a single person out of the 1,731 actually wanted to have a heart attack or leave his or her family with the untimely death of a loved one.
So why the disconnect? This particular study may help give you some insight as to why YOU haven’t adopted at least the Simple 7.
In it, researchers looked at a group of 5,863 patients and asked about his or her individual perception of risk of heart disease based on established risk factors. The patient’s perceived risk was then compared to his or her ACTUAL risk based on established risk factors.
Individuals were asked to rate his or her heart disease risk for the next years as low, intermediate or high. Based on these responses, they were classified as hypo-perceivers (the patient’s perceived his or her risk of heart disease as lower than it actually was) and normo-perceivers (the patient’s perceived risk was on par with his or her actual risk). Here’s what they found:
- Cardiovascular risk was intermediate in 45.7% and high in 54.3% of individuals as estimated by the Lifetime Risk Score (LRS).
- Shockingly, 83.9% were hypo-perceivers, thinking that they were at a lower risk than they actually were.
- A mere 16.1% estimated their risk correctly.
Talk about a massive disconnect. First of all, EVERYONE in the study had at least an intermediate risk for heart disease. This is a sad reflection on the overall state of health. But how could so many of these patients be so unaware at how great his or her risk is??
The rest of the study may give us some insight into just how much our “take a pill to fix it” society has screwed up our perceptions:
- Smokers were 204% more likely to underestimate their risk.
- Those with cholesterol problems were 121% more likely to underestimate risk.
- Sedentary people were 167% more likely.
- Those who took meds? A whopping 350% more likely to underestimate his or her risk.
- On the flip side, those with a higher BMI (64%), high blood pressure (43%), depression (54%) and stress (60%) were at a lower risk of hypo-perception.
I have said this time and time and time again. Taking medications to “fix” your problems does no such thing. In almost every situation, medications give you a false sense of security. Even though your blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar has gotten better on the meds, it translates very weakly into actually changing your risk of the things you are really worried about like heart attacks, stroke or death.
In other words, you will die with better numbers, but you WILL STILL DIE.
While this is a strong statement, we have seen it play out over and over in the medical literature. This study just reinforces the fact that our drug-oriented medical approach is creating a society that BELIEVES it is at a lower risk for heart disease, when in reality, it is not. There is a very high likelihood that you have some degree of risk for heart disease, unless you have adopted at least Life’s Simple 7 (click here for more info on the Simple 7 and see where you stand….personally I’m at a 9.4/10 because my BMI suggests I should lose 4 pounds, but my actual body fat percentage is where I want it to be).
Take the test yourself and let me know how you scored in the comments section!