Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Cardiovascular disease includes heart attacks, heart failure (problem with a weak heart muscle), arrhythmias (irregular heart rates) and valvular problems. When people talk about heart disease they are typically talking about a heart attack. 790,000 Americans have a heart attack per year, which means 1 person every 40 seconds.
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What are the Symptoms of Heart Disease?:
- Chest pain- often heaviness in center of chest radiating to left arm
- Shortness of breath
- Hot and sweaty
- Pain, numbness in left arm
- Pain radiating to neck or jaw
- Weakness or fatigue
What Causes Heart Disease?
Fatty plaque builds up in arteries in the heart. This causes narrowing and hardening of blood vessels and can lead to a blockage. It also increases likelihood of a clot forming on plaque and causing blockages. This leads to a decrease in blood flow and lack of oxygen to the heart muscle which causes a heart attack.
RISK FACTORS FOR A HEART ATTACK:
- Age > 50
- Male sex
- Family history of heart attack
- Poor diet- high in fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol
- History of high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes
- Lack of exercise
What is the Best Prevention of Heart Disease?
- Be physically active- recommend aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day
- Be a healthy weight
- Eat heart healthy foods- high fiber foods like oatmeal, lots of fruits and vegetables, and fish like salmon
- Avoid alcohol, fried foods, food high in saturated fat- like meat and butter, and salty foods
- Keep cholesterol levels under control- Goal cholesterol<200 and LDL (bad) cholesterol <100
- Keep blood pressure under control- Goal less than 140/90
- Do not use tobacco
- Reduce stress
It is important for all patients that have many of the risk factors or any warning symptoms be screened for heart disease. This is done by getting a stress test done to evaluate for a blockage. If it is recognized early, an individual can have a stent placed or bypass surgery done and prevent a heart attack and even save their life. Take steps to reduce your heart disease risk today!!
Health and Happiness!