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There’s work to do
With so many people smoking, overeating and avoiding exercise, there’s plenty of work for heart specialists in Oklahoma. “It’s definitely job security here,” Dr. Kris Mullins, cardiologist at Saint Anthony Hospital, said.Too many Oklahomans eat the way people used to on the farm, back when people spent all day at manual labor, she said. Lots of meat, fat and fried foods. Restaurants oblige with huge servings on platters. “It’s just amazing,” Mullins said. These days too many people, particularly kids, are sedentary, preferring to sit at a TV or computer. Schools have dropped physical education classes and many school cafeterias serve foods with lots of trans fats and sodium. “The lunch menus are horrible. It is a disaster,” said Mullins, who has stopped letting her son eat school lunches regularly. Many low-income people are overweight because cheap fast foods and drinks are high in fat, salt and sugar, she said. Many people won’t curb their risky behavior despite suffering severe heart problems, even some who have a tracheostomy, a surgically created airway in the throat to bypass an obstructed airway. “I have patients who even have trachs who smoke,” she said. Despite resistance from many to her suggestions, Mullins keeps urging patients to change their lifestyles to reduce their chances of heart problems and early death. “It doesn’t do any good for you to give up on them,” she said. “You’ve just got to say, ‘Whenever you’re ready, I’m here.’ ”
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