American Heart Month
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has established February as American Heart Month to help educate the public about heart disease and stroke. Heart disease to this day is still not taken seriously enough by many Americans and we find there is a lack of education to this day about the detriments of this disease, which is often preventable.
Heart Disease, which is a term that includes heart attack and plaque build-up in the arteries, is the leading cause of death for men and women in America, killing 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women. This applies to African-American and White populations, as well as several other ethnicities, showing us that is does not discriminate. And despite heart disease killing more Americans than any other illness or cause, over half of Americans are still unaware of this fact.
Most people that die of heart disease had no symptoms prior to their heart attack or stroke. So just because you “feel fine” does not mean you are free from heart disease. According to the Circulation Journal, half of men that die suddenly from a heart attack had no symptoms prior.
There are risk factors that we know increase your risk of this disease. According to the CDC, 47% of people in the United States with heart disease have one or more of the these:
- High Blood Pressure
- High LDL Cholesterol
Other lifestyle choices and risk factors that are strong contributors include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Eating unhealthy
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol intake
There are many other conditions that affect the heart that require diagnosis and treatment. Some of them include angina, aortic aneurysm, arrythmias, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, Marfan Syndrome, mental health disorders, valvular heart disease, pulmonary hypertension and peripheral arterial disease. Making sure you work together with your primary care provider and cardiologist to keep these conditions under control are crucial to reducing early death.
The best way to reduce your risk of heart disease is with lifestyle changes and treating any known health issues that contribute. Starting as early in life as possible is key to prevention. So what can you do to reduce your risk now?
- See your health care provider for a check up and know your cholesterol and blood sugar levels
- Change your diet to become more plant based and less in saturated fats and salts
- Limit alcohol intake to one drink or less per day
- Reduce your daily stress level
Remember, we are here to help and are on your team. Our goal is to help you stay healthy, educate you on what you can do to have a long, healthy life and guide you to make healthy changes and manage your health conditions.
Sources: CDC, Circulation Journal, American Heart Association, NIH