February is National Heart Disease Awareness Month

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is one of the top most leading causes of deaths in the U.S..

February is the month dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease. This month’s article is dedicated to provide education and knowledge about prevention, educating ourselves on the dangers of, and to help get on track to better heart health!

Here are some of the facts about heart disease.

  • Every year, about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States; that’s about 1 in every 4 deaths!
  • As stated earlier, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. In fact, in 2009, more than half of the deaths due to heart disease were in men.
  • The most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease (CHD); it kills more than 385,000 people annually.
  • About 935,000 Americans have a heart attack in a year. Of that number, 610,000 of these are an individual’s first heart attack. That means that 325,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack (we will talk about prevention in a moment).
  • Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.
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Some of the warning signs and symptoms of heart disease.  Early recognition and action are very important and it can help you or your loved ones prevent death or serious injury by knowing these waring sings:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats

Many sudden cardiac deaths occur outside a hospital. This suggests that many people with heart disease don’t act on early warning signs. Remember the adage, “Knowledge is Power.” As knowing these, acting fast, and acting EARLY can reduce these unsettling statistics. Most recognize chest pain as a symptom of a heart attack, but knowing all major symptoms and knowing to call 911 when someone is experiencing a heart attack is what saves lives.

About half of Americans have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease. But what are they?

High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking.

Other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease. Here are some examples:

  • Diabetes
  • Overweight & obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use

So after some of this staggering data, where’s the silver lining? How do you protect yourself/your loved ones?  Well, we do have good news for you!

The good news is that you can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol to reduce your risk of heart disease. Here are 4 ways you can do this (in no particular order):

  1. Consult a doctor; follow their instructions and stay on your medications.
  2. Eat a healthy diet that is low in salt; low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol; and full of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  3. Take a brisk 30 minutes of walk or some form of exercise, five days a week.
  4. Don’t smoke. If you already do, quit as soon as possible. For tips on quitting, visit smokefree.gov or cdc.gov/tobacco.

Have a great February, remember what we’ve learned today can save your and your loved ones life.  Prevention is the best approach in heart disease which can reduce long term complications and allow you to live healthy and productive life.  If you or your love ones has chest pain, perspirations, difficulty breathing or aby suspected heart issue, do not drive them to hospital but call 911 and get medical help on an urgent basis.  Sooner you reach to hospital and get help, better your chances of survival and less complications.  – Source: CDC

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