“After four decades of declining deaths from heart disease, we are starting to lose the battle again.” These are the words of a physician Donald Llloyd-Jones who along with colleagues has presented research suggesting that today’s teens will die younger of heart disease.
This article comments on the research presented recently at the American Heart Association. Lloyd-Jones describes the future of today’s teens as ‘bleak” when it comes to cardiovascular health. The effects are already being seen with, for the first time, a rise in cardiovascular mortality rates in adults aged 35-44, particularly in women.
They studied over 5000 children/adolesecents (12-19yrs) and found alarming health profiles. Many have high blood sugar, are overweight or obese, have a poor diet, smoke and don’t get enough physical activity. Lloyd-Jones explains that the plaques that kill people in their 40s and 50s start forming in the teens – it is a lifelong process and does not just occur overnight.
None of the children/adolescents surveyed met the criteria for ‘ideal cardiovascular health’ according to the researchers. Diets were worse than those of adults and had too much sodium and sugar and not enough protein, fruit and fibre. More than 40% girls had high blood sugar predisposing them to diabetes, 35% were overweight/obese and this was likely to increase with age. 38% girls (cf 52% boys) had ‘ideal physical activity’. Cholesterol levels were worse in girls as well.
The fact that people are living more sedentary lives, having less physical activity, eating more processed food, having less sleep combined with other pressures, is all leading to poor health and is a big societal problem according to Lloyd-Jones.
It is shocking, is it not, that in today’s society with all the advancements in healthcare, technology, understanding of the human body, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, medicine etc etc that we are being told that today’s teens are heading towards an earlier heart attack and grave from heart disease. How is this possible? How intelligent are we really when it comes to the human body and the human condition if this is the case?
From an esoteric perspective the answers do not sit in the intelligence of the mind but in the wisdom of the inner heart. Whilst mankind has progressed technologically and in many spheres of life using the intelligence of the mind – we have regressed according to the wisdom of the heart and our ability to live self-caring and self-loving lives. If we do not realise what this means for ourselves to live self-loving lives, we cannot inspire others to do likewise nor demonstrate by example what this means. If we do not love ourselves, we cannot truly love another. It is lovelessness that is our greatest dis-ease for it is that which leads to all other diseases and it is at the root of all heart disease.
One of the things that this study highlights is the fact that illness and disease does not just pop up overnight, even if someone appears to be well one day and having a heart attack ‘out of the blue’ the next day. The choices that we make on a daily basis thoughout our lives are all impacting our health, are all either healing or harming and unfortunately are often the latter.
I was once a teenager that partook in all the unhealthy activities described above and did so for many years thereafter. Heart disease runs in my family with my father having his first attack in his early 50s and subsequently dying from one aged 65. Even with all that I learned through medical school about the risk factors for heart disease, my father’s history etc none of that influenced my choices. I had enough intelligence to understand that I was not making healthy choices but that wasn’t enough to get me to stop. It was only when I began to address the underlying emotional issues that fed the self-destructive behaviours and heal those did I start to make more self-loving choices. When I came to know that the essence of my being is love and not all the misbeliefs that I had held about myself, irrespective of the life lived and choices made, was I empowered to make more self-loving and healing choices.
It has been said before that Love is a great healer – well that begins by loving and caring for oneself because Love is what we are, it is our essence, it is our being. If we make choices impulsed by love and feeling what is true for us and how those choices impact the body then we can build more love and harmony in the body. On the other side, to make choices in separation to that Love is to call in illness and disease. Ultimately – it is our choice.