James Gandolfini a Recent Victim of America’s #1 Killer

Last Wednesday, James Gandolfini, dynamic star of the Emmy-winning series, “The Sopranos”, tragically died of a heart attack while he was vacationing in Rome. He was 51 years old.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 715,000 Americans suffer a heart attack every year. Heart disease is America’s number one killer, accounting for approximately one third of all deaths in this country every year.

The Heart Foundation estimates that every 33 seconds, someone in the United States dies from complications of cardiovascular disease.

James Gandolfini is the latest celebrity casualty, adding to a long list of celebrities whose lives were tragically cut short by heart attacks, often in the prime of their careers. A few others include:

  • Jerry Garcia, age 53, lead guitarist of the legendary rock n’ roll group The Grateful Dead.
  • John Candy, age 43, Canadian actor and star of the popular films Planes, Trains & Automobiles and Uncle Buck
  • Cass “Mama Cass” Elliot, age 32, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer of the The Mamas and the Papas
  • Reggie Lewis, age 27, professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, age 44, author of the American classic novel, The Great Gatsby

Along with these and many other celebrities, heart attacks claim the lives of thousands of Americans every year.

A heart attack can strike at any time. While it is not always possible to avoid a heart attack, such as in the case of Reggie Lewis who was found to have an inherited heart defect, those who do not lead a healthy lifestyle are at a much higher risk. Lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking and excessive alcohol use greatly increases your chances of having a heart attack.

Research indicates that waist measurement is a good indicator of heart attack risk. In one study, men with a waist size greater than 40 and women with a waist size greater than 35 were 70% more likely to experience a heart attack than those with smaller waists. People with a high BMI combined with a larger waist are even more likely to have a heart attack.

heart attackTo minimize your risk of heart disease and heart attacks as much as possible, steer clear of processed foods, eat a diet rich in raw, organic fruits and vegetables, along with grass-fed meats and healthy fats, and exercise for 30 minutes each day. Encourage everyone in your household to do the same.

A healthy diet and exercise do not guarantee a healthy heart, but they definitely help. Any small step you take towards keeping your heart healthy lowers the risk of a tragedy, such as the tragedy that befell James Gandolfini, from happening in your family.

-The Alternative Daily


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