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Apple a day really may stop heart attack, stroke

Heart attack and stroke can be debilitating, life-changing medical emergencies. They can take an apparently able-bodied person and give him or her a disability. Many working adults are unable to return to work after having a heart attack or stroke.

Fortunately, the Social Security disability program helps adults who cannot work due to a condition or illness. But most readers would surely prefer to avoid getting sick in the first place, if possible.

Could the solution to heart disease be as simple as the old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Researchers in the U.K. think so. Their new study found that thousands of deaths could be prevented if doctors encouraged their middle-aged and elderly patients to eat an apple every day.

The study was based on estimates of the effect of what would happen if every person over age 50 were either prescribed a statin as a preventative medication, or told by their doctor to eat an apple each day. The authors concluded that the statins would prevent about 9,400 deaths from heart attack and stroke. But the apples would also have a significant effect, preventing 8,500 such deaths, the study concludes.

The benefit to your health can begin at an even younger age. The authors say that the death rate from vascular disease would drop 3 percent, if everyone had an apple or a statin daily.

Healthy choices like eating fruits and vegetables can help improve our health and quality of life. Unfortunately, in some cases disabling conditions cannot be prevented.

Source: CBS News, “Apple a day may keep heart attacks, stroke at bay,” Michelle Castillo, Dec. 18, 2013

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