You may have heard of musical quartets, some of them famous singing groups (Beatles, anyone?). But did you know one particular quartet can be harmful to your health?
It’s known as the “four chronic conditions”— or the Deadly Quartet. And when this group of health issues comes together, the last thing you’ll hear is music.
High blood pressure
The first member of the Deadly Quartet is high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. If left untreated, high blood pressure can cause a stroke or heart disease. Strokes may lead to many other problems, including being paralyzed. And heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the U.S. High blood pressure often has no symptoms and should be checked yearly at your routine doctor visits.
The second member is high cholesterol. This condition, which may not trigger symptoms right away, increases “plaque” buildup in your arteries, especially in the heart. This buildup can cause a heart attack; it’s also a major risk factor for heart disease. You can learn what your cholesterol numbers are through a simple blood test.
Next up is obesity. This bad boy will sneak up on you, tricking your mind into thinking your clothes are shrinking. However, a combination of unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise are usually the real causes. Obesity will strain your heart, joints and bones, and can cause other diseases common in adults, such as diabetes.
Obesity has become very widespread in children, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity now affects 17 percent of all U.S. kids and teenagers. In addition, childhood obesity often carries into adulthood, causing high blood pressure, arthritis, sleep apnea and low self-esteem, among other problems.
The last member in the Deadly Quartet is diabetes—a major result of obesity. Diabetes is a disorder that causes your body to produce an inadequate amount of insulin. It can affect your heart and blood vessels, causing a decrease in blood flow and eventually the loss of a lower extremity … even your eyesight.
Avoid the Deadly Quartet
Here’s the good news: some simple lifestyle changes could help prevent — and even reverse — any of these conditions. Here are some changes to consider:
- Eating more fruits and vegetables
- Consuming smaller portions (a single serving of meat is about the size of your palm, for example)
- Eating more lean meats, such as chicken and fish
- Increasing regular physical activity (even just 30 minutes of walking a day, about four or five days per week, can make a huge difference)
For more tips on living a healthy life, visit TriWest.com/HealthyLiving.