If heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the US and according to the CDC is 80% preventable, why is the system built to set people up for failure? Did you know that to follow the guidelines, a primary care doctor is responsible for covering about 15 issues during a typical preventive care visit of which heart disease is just one? This is of course not including your questions in a visit that on average lasts about 17 minutes in the US. That’s impossible! Well, at least it’s impossible to do it well… and that’s not your primary doctor’s fault. However, it’s important for people to realize that some preventive health should be taken into your own hands. Empower yourself when it comes to heart health!
Knowing your risk factors is the most important starting point because it will allow you to plan how to do things better. The American Heart Association summarizes several of these modifiable risk factors here, which they call Life’s Simple 7. It involves things like being more physically active, controlling your blood pressure, eating right, and more.
To help your doctor help you, try to think about your own lifestyle before you go for your visit. Do your own analysis of the thing you’d like to do better in terms of your heart health. There are lots of reliable resources out there that don’t have to be squeezed into a 17 minutes visit.