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Importance of Heart Health and Making Healthy Lifestyle Choices

From Tammy Thompson, Cardiac Rehab Manager


The last couple of weeks have been filled with one sad story after another announcing deaths of multiple celebrity icons, with many of them relating to heart disease. There couldn’t be a more perfect time to remind ourselves of the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices that contribute to our future health.

The recent celebrity deaths of George Michael and Carrie Fisher were both attributed to heart failure, however, both of those individuals have long histories of significant alcohol abuse. The lasting effects of that abuse was a contributing factor to their cardiac deaths at relatively young ages.

When we look at these recent deaths, the take home message is that long-term effects of alcohol abuse are a forgotten consequence of drinking too much over time. These heart-related deaths were not with otherwise healthy hearts, there were factors that contributed to their heart failure.<

How is alcohol connected to heart health?

The American Heart Association (AHA) states that drinking too much alcohol can raise the levels of some fats in the blood (triglycerides). It can also lead tohigh blood pressure and an increased calorie intake, both of which are risk factors for heart failure.

The AHA presented a study at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2015 that showed alcohol abuse was associated with a 70 percent increased risk of congestive heart failure in adults and the link was especially strong among younger adults (60 years or younger) and those without high blood pressure.

Alcohol is not the only risk factor for heart failure. The infographic below shows other major risk factors.



How can you reduce your risk? You’re in charge!

  • Recognize what you need to do to make a lifestyle change.
  • What do you want to do to improve?
  • What are your barriers to accomplishing that change?

Don’t underestimate what you can do for your own heart. Most heart attacks can be prevented, and it starts with you!

The primary care providers at the Crossing Rivers Health Clinics in Prairie du Chien and Fennimore, along with the Cardiac Rehab and Healthy Hearts department at the Crossing Rivers Health Medical Center in Prairie du Chien can help you get there.

We will work with you to identify your barriers, create a plan just for you, and help you find success in managing your health. We know that each patient is unique and what works for one doesn’t always work for another.

You can do it and we can help get you there! Make an appointment at either the Crossing Rivers Health Clinic in Prairie du Chien or Fennimore by calling 608.357.2500.