Gandolfini's Unexpected Legacy in Heart Health Education

Heart attack prevention – brought to you by Lake Norman Regional Medical Center

MOORESVILLE, NC (July 2, 2013) – The recent death of Emmy Award-winning actor James Gandolfini stunned the public – especially those who faithfully watched him on HBO’s groundbreaking series, “The Sopranos.”

Though his television alter ego, Tony Soprano, may have been notorious for ending lives, Gandolfini’s high-profile status and sudden passing may ultimately represent the reverse scenario.

His final, personal storyline has the potential to positively impact countless Americans through increased heart health education.

Essentially, the recent media spotlight on James Gandolfini’s death may save lives.

Though the risk factors contributing to heart disease and heart attack are very well-documented, the staff and administration of Lake Norman Regional Medical Center understand the importance of reiterating this lifesaving information as often as possible.

First, as was the case with Mr. Gandolfini, many heart attacks are unexpected and come without warning.

In addition, a greater understanding of heart disease prevention enables all Americans to become health care advocates for their friends and family members in need of positive role models and support.

Rather than speculate about Mr. Gandolfini’s personal medical issues, it’s more important to honor his passing with the sharing of important heart health information.

Important advice for a healthy heart

1. Watch your diet.

Diet is linked to heart disease and other related conditions. For example, diets high in saturated fats and cholesterol raise blood cholesterol levels and can cause atherosclerosis – or plaque buildup in the arteries. In addition, diets high in salt or sodium can lead to high blood pressure.

2. Don’t smoke.

Smoking increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack as it promotes atherosclerosis and increases the levels of blood clotting factors. Not only does carbon monoxide reduce the amount of oxygen that blood can carry, but nicotine also raises blood pressure.

3. Keep physically active.

A lack of physical activity is related to the development of heart disease, and it can also impact other risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, a low level of HDL (good) cholesterol and diabetes.

4. Manage your weight.

Obesity – or excess body fat with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher – is linked to an increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as to lower HDL (good) cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. For a healthy weight, it is recommended to maintain a BMI of less than 25. To calculate your BMI, visit www.heart.org/BMI.

5. Watch your alcohol consumption.

Excessive alcohol use can lead to an increase in blood pressure, therefore, increasing the risk of heart disease. Alcohol can also elevate triglycerides in the blood which contributes to atherosclerosis.

6. Check your blood pressure.

High blood pressure represents another significant risk. However, by making changes in lifestyle or through the use of medication, blood pressure can be lowered and reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack.

7. Understand your family medical history.

Genetic factors can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease and other vascular conditions. The risk for heart disease also increases when heredity is combined with harmful lifestyle choices such as smoking and/or poor eating habits.

For more information on preventing heart disease, please visit www.cdc.gov.

About Lake Norman Regional Medical Center

Lake Norman Regional Medical Center offers comprehensive medical care to individuals throughout the greater Lake Norman region. Located just off I-77 at Exit 33, the Mooresville medical campus offers complete specialty services from 24-hour emergency medicine and maternity to oncology and advanced surgical services.