As we continue through January, how are your resolutions coming along to lose weight and become more healthy? If you are struggling to keep on track in those efforts, Dr. Karl Kuzis with UCHealth Memorial has a few reminders of why keeping around your ideal weight is so important in terms of living a healthy and long life.
“Being a data-oriented nerd I have to go back to the statistics and say ‘what kills people?’” said Kuzis, who practices family medicine at Printers Park Primary Care. “We in the United States are really paranoid about cancer, but when we look at cancer deaths, it's about 1.5 to 2 out of every 100 so it's a pretty low killer. Cancer is horrible when it happens, and needs screening and prevention but it’s really a low number killer. The big killer in the United States is the combination of heart attack, diabetes and stroke. It's a pretty good biology reason to lump those things together, and when you do you get four out of 10 adult deaths, so that is the big killer – 40 percent of the people you know who die this year in the United States will die from heart attack, diabetes and stroke.”
The first and biggest common risk factor of heart attack, diabetes and stroke is a pretty obvious one, says Dr. Kuzis. “The first is really simply don't use tobacco products. Hands down that is the biggest risk for all three of those.”
After smoking Dr. Kuzis says there are two factors that are also key to good health: "Once you get past smoking, there are two factors that are competing, and the first is don't allow yourself to get to the point where you don't have muscle mass. Don't get flabby because people that have muscle mass and are exercising on a regular basis are protected from heart attack, diabetes and stroke. The factor that competes with being flabby is don't let your weight drift up. If you're up over ‘ideal’, then that is a controllable risk factor that doesn't depend on family - it depends on your own behaviors and is one you can definitely take charge of and bring in a different direction to change your risk of diabetes, heart attack and stroke."
Dr. Kuzis has several specific tips and strategies when it comes to eating better and losing weight, and we will bring those to you in coming stories. This all ties into having a healthy heart that will be a big focus in February, which is Heart Health Month. ?