Heart-health and the Matthew Perry Factor

According to the American Heart Association, it is estimated that over 40 million adults over the age of 60 have heart-health disease. And it continues to be one of the leading causes of death among the elderly.

These facts probably aren’t shocking to you, as you have likely already heard something similar more than once. It’s just a consequence of today’s fast-food, low exercise society.

Many don’t even consider changing their unhealthy lifestyle until they are forced to by some external factor – I call it the Matthew Perry factor.

Could I be any more confusing? (Insert laugh track).

Sorry, not that Matthew Perry — not Ross, Monica, and Rachel’s friend.

I’m talking about Matthew C. Perry, a Commodore of the United States Navy back in the 19th century. This particular Matthew Perry showed up in 1854 to isolationist Japan, which at the time was ruled by Shoguns and their sworn samurai, with big Black Ships with big guns and forced the Shogun to open up trade with America.

Perry’s sudden, unexpected, forceful intervention into Japanese society changed them forever. No longer could they continue what they were doing for centuries. They had to modernize and adapt to survive.

If you allow yourself, you could see how Perry’s Black Ships are (in a very, very general sense) comparable to those external heart-health factors such as heart attacks, strokes, and heart failures – factors that force you to adapt to survive.

But why wait for the Black Ships? Especially when there’s a better option right in front of you?

It’s simple enough, practice preventative care for good heart-health.

What this means: cut down on sodium to help with blood pressure; don’t smoke; limit your sugar intake; exercise regularly; watch your cholesterol levels; watch your diet; and don’t drink alcohol excessively. For more information on these external risk factors, here is a helpful overview.

The earlier you start these preventative measures the more effective it is for your heart-health. Don’t wait till you see the sails on those Black Ships, because they don’t carry good news as their cargo.

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