Joel Garrison

Joel Garrison, doctor of osteopathic medicine at Clearview Regional Medical Center, discussed how to stay ‘heart healthy’ as part of this month’s Lunch and Learn, where members of the community are educated on a number of topics.

Just days before the end of February, members of the local community, along with Dr. Joel Garrison, gathered for the monthly Lunch and Learn event to educate the community on many different topics such as diabetes awareness, stroke signs and how to live an all-around better, healthier life.

According to research, cardiovascular disease-related deaths have declined by 25 percent since 1975 due to better pharmaceutical drugs and technology and declining rates of smoking.

“Although there are more people who have given up smoking and the number of deaths has decreased each year, cardiovascular disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States,” Garrison said.

Cardiovascular disease does not discriminate and effects all races and ethnicities, and is how one in four people will die. Those who are at a higher risk for heart disease include those with diabetes, those who are overweight or obese, those who have a poor diet, those who do little to no physical activity and those who partake in excessive alcohol use.

“In order to lower the risk of heart disease in the future, it is key to make sure at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity is needed per week.

“That’s about 30 minutes per day,” Garrison said.

When trying to prevent or lower the risk of heart disease a couple of fun facts to keep in mind include:

• Happiness and emotional wellness help lower the risk of heart disease.

• Heart disease is a greater health threat than breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.

• Heart disease is more common than most people know and in recent years celebrities like David Letterman, Bill Clinton, Barbara Walters, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Regis Philbin have undergone open heart surgery in recent years.

• The number of heart attacks peaks on Christmas Day.

Yearly exams to make sure everything is in proper working order are important.

“Don’t hesitate to call or make an appointment with your doctor if there’s any change in your health,” Garrison said.

Brittney Fitzpatrick is a former staff writer for The Walton Tribune. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

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