I’m one of those people who thinks about death all the time. I blame my parents for exposing me to so much Woody Allen when I was a small child. Well, that and genetics. I think some of us are just hard-wired to worry about stuff like catching some bizarre disease from a bug or dropping dead for no reason. Every ache and pain could totally be a tumor or appendicitis or some horrible thing they’ll name after us.

Working in health care is both a good thing and a bad thing. That you actually know a bit about what the actual symptoms of various conditions are makes it easier to convince yourself there’s nothing to worry about, but at the same thime, since you’re exposed to such more information about all the sh!t that can go wrong in the body, there’s more to worry about. Being young and healthy doesn’t matter. Anxiety knows no logic, though it does respond quite well to it.

This why I love reading about how the good things I’m already doing to keep myself healthy have been shown to reduce risk of sudden cardiac death in women.

"Smoking kills." Duh.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that positive lifestyle choices—following a Mediterranean-style diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and exercising—were associated with a reduced chance of dying a sudden cardiac death. Even better? When looked at in combination with each other, these factors were linked to a 92 percent lower risk.

Said Dr. Stephanie Chiuve from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the lead author of the 26-year study of more than 81,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study, “The more you adhere to this healthy lifestyle, the better you are in terms of your risk of sudden cardiac death.”

On its own, adherence to the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and fish, along with moderate amounts of alcohol and small amounts of red meat, was associated with a 40 percent decrease in risk of sudden cardiac death.

In addition to improving heart health, these lifestyle choices may also protect against other conditions such as diabetes and stroke. Very nice.

The neck pain I was so worried about this morning feels better already…

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