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What Are You Doing with Your Time

Written by Paul Wolf

If you thought that hardening of the arteries was part of the aging process, think again.

 Because so many conditions and diseases are associated with advancing years, it's natural to view them as inevitable. But many of them are due to lifestyle, not Father Time.

You're the boss when it comes to the aging process.

Myth One: Once my arteries were as soft as a cooked noodle, but I fear that with age they're becoming as hard as raw spaghetti.

Nice metaphor, but incorrect. Aging is not viewed as the direct cause of arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, according to Anne Dubner of the American Dietetic Association.

 
Heart Advice
Develop a personal database for cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.
Update database with regular screenings.
Adopt a serious but sustainable diet and exercise program.
Adopt stress-management practices. 
 
For most people, lifestyle is the decisive factor. If you eat a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol, spend your waking hours in the grip of stress, and abuse your system with cigarettes and other substances, you are setting yourself up for ailments that progress with time.

"The real question," Dubner says, "is what are you doing with the time you have?"

Prevention is always a better strategy than the wait-and-treat approach, or valiant attempts at reversal. Nutrition gurus like Dean Ornish and John McDougall say that arteriosclerosis can be reversed by adopting a strict low-fat, no-cholesterol and high-fiber diet. Ornish also advocates the mastery of relaxation techniques.

For most of us, the best strategy begins with knowledge. Do you know your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyerides levels?

Armed with knowledge, you can work on diet, exercise, stress management and positive thinking. If you do these things, you will feel that time is on your side, not your biggest enemy.

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