How you can save your life


Tracy Cook, Nurse Practitioner

Did you know that coronary heart disease is the nation’s single leading cause of death for both men and women? Fifty percent of sudden cardiac death victims and 80% of stroke victims have NO symptoms. That is pretty scary to think about.

But wait, you say I live at Robson Ranch and lead an active lifestyle and I even eat fairly well. The question you have to ask is, are YOU at risk for heart disease or stroke?

AGE-Men over 45 and women over 55 years are at a greater risk for heart disease.

FAMILY HISTORY-Children of parents with heart disease are more likely to develop it themselves.

SMOKERS-Are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than nonsmokers.

HIGH BLOOD CHOLESTEROL-Cholesterol is responsible for increased plaque buildup in the arteries.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE-High BP increases the heart’s workload causing the heart wall to thicken.

PHYSICAL INACTIVITY-An inactive lifestyle puts you at a greater risk for heart disease.

OBESITY OR OVERWEIGHT-People with excess body fat are at a higher risk of developing heart disease or stroke.

DIABETES-Three out of four people with diabetes die of heart or vessel disease complications.

What most people do not realize is there are non-invasive (meaning no needles!) tests that can save your life. If you have never had any symptoms then more than likely you have not had these types of tests done. As I began talking to my active and healthy seniors I realized most have never had to see a cardiologist and were unaware they were at risk for heart attack or stroke. Most of us know at least one person who has had a heart attack or a stroke that caught them completely unaware.

What can you potentionally do to save your life? Ask your health care professional about getting a cardiopulmonary exercise test, resting echocardiogram, a carotid doppler and/or an abdominal aortic aneurysm ultrasound done.

February is Heart Health Awareness Month, so go get tested, get your blood pressure taken, take up walking, stop smoking or lose some weight. Pick one activity that will put you on the path to heart health. We are lucky to live in a community where there are so many healthy activities to choose from and neighbors and friends who can help make this journey fun and enlightening. Take advantage!

Tracy Cook is an Adult Nurse Practitioner who owns and operates her private medical practice, Adult Health Services, is a resident of Robson Ranch and a Living Well committee member. For any questions or more information please visit her website: