Think Smart, Take Care of Your Heart

The heart is smart. It regulates our emotions, desires, thoughts and intents. The Bible says, “… for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).

This is a spiritual saying; however, it can also be applied physically

Physically, the heart is the engine that keeps the body alive. When not taken care of properly, the heart can develop several types of heart conditions called “heart disease.” The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD), which affects the blood flow to the heart.

Decreased blood flow can cause a heart attack, which is often the first sign of heart disease. What causes CAD is plaque buildup (deposits of cholesterol and other substances) on the walls of the arteries. The arteries supply blood to the heart and other parts of the body. Plaque buildup causes the inside of the arteries to narrow over time, which could partially or totally block the blood flow. This process is called atherosclerosis.

When your heart muscle doesn’t get enough blood, you may have chest pain or discomfort, called angina. Over time, CAD can weaken the heart muscle. This may lead to heart failure, causing the heart to not be able to pump blood the way it should.  An irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, also can develop CAD.

To find out your risk of CAD, your health professional may measure your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels. Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Unhealthy eating
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Family history

If God looks at the heart, we should too. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.  The staggering statistics show that about half of Americans (49%) have at least one of the three key heart disease risk factors: high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking. About 610,000 Americans die from heart disease each year – that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 42 seconds; and each minute, someone in the U.S. dies from a heart-related event.[1]

In order to take away the risk of CAD, we must make better lifestyle choices: live stress-free, control weight – fight obesity, eat healthy, put fitness into the schedule, stop smoking, reduce/no alcohol intake, and break the family curse!  It’s time to think smart about how we take care of our heart…“for out of it are the issues of LIFE.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Tracy Byrd, Certified Fitness Instructor

[1] Information taken from

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