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Cardiovascular disease deaths on the rise in healthy Colorado

Watching out for your heart health during winter months
Posted at 6:17 AM, Feb 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-17 08:41:38-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — The scenery and backdrop to Colorado Springs is as stunning as this startling fact: 75% of all cardiovascular disease is preventable.

From vegan and meatless options to gorgeous trails for walkers, bikers, and runners, Colorado's obsession with fitness is nothing new.

While our state remains one of the healthiest in the nation, Colorado Springs and other areas saw a spike in heart failure deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The heart disease death rate for Colorado Springs has jumped 25%, an increase that Dr. Samuel Hayes at UCHealth says is not completely alarming.

"We're not entirely unique in that diet, exercise, and a sedentary lifestyle are creeping into our community just like they are in a lot of different communities across the country," Hayes explained.

There's a group of "heart healthy" women who meet up and jog every week. They call themselves the "Soul Sisters Running Club." These ladies jog up hills, over ice, side by side on gorgeous trails.

"I just get motivated seeing others running out here with me," said Sharon Greenbaum, an avid runner.

Greenbaum and her running mates also make a group that's more likely to be affected by cardiovascular disease: women. According to Hayes, women often have symptoms that go unnoticed.

"Just because you're not having crushing chest pressure or chest pain, doesn't mean that you're immune from having this represent heart disease," Hayes said.

The CDC also says Colorado's obesity and diabetes rates are on the rise, even though they are the lowest in the country.

Hayes recommends looking at diet and exercise when thinking of your heart health. For the "Soul Sisters," that's just half of what they consider healthy.

"I consider heart health to also mean having good relationships with other women," Greenbaum said.