According to the Heart Foundation, “Every 33 seconds someone in the United States dies from cardiovascular disease.  This year more than 920,000 Americans will have a heart attack.  Heart disease is the number 1 cause of death for both men & women in the United States.  One-half of the victims of Sudden Cardiac Death are under the age of 65. By 202 Heart Disease will be the leading cause of death throughout the world.”  Now that we have your attention, how can you avoid being a statistic?

                To begin, you don’t have to be on medicine to prevent heart disease.  The Mayo Clinic provides 5 easy ways to prevent the onset of a cardiac event.   The list is as follows:   don’t smoke or use tobacco, exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week (moderately intense), eat a heart-healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, and get regular health screenings.  BMI and waist measurements can be very useful for keeping your weight healthy.  The CDC recommends aiming for a BMI of 18.5-24.9, and the Mayo Clinic advises a waist measurement of under 35 inches for females & under 40 inches for males.  Regular health screenings include getting blood pressure and cholesterol checked as well as getting screened for diabetes.

                If you already have heart disease, you may be put on medication, but you have the tools necessary to combat the disease listed above.  That’s right, if you follow those simple lifestyle changes along with the plan your doctor put you on, you will be amazed at how much better you’ll feel.  In addition, both the Greater Carbondale and Wayne County YMCAs have programs designed especially for you.  We have a nurse on staff and run a program, In the Cardiac Direction, that provides support and tools for you to get and stay well.  The program begins with you meeting with the nurse to devise a plan based upon your history and doctors’ orders.   There are also personal trainers on staff who take you to the health center and monitor your work out.  You are never alone.  There is always someone there to make sure you are doing well. If you have questions about the disease or medications, the nurse is happy to answer them.  If you need assistance in the health center, your trainer is right there to assist.  For more information, contact the Wayne County YMCA at (570) 253-2083 or visit us online at