Many of us are not aware, but heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.
The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type is coronary heart disease (also called coronary artery disease), which occurs when a substance called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Coronary heart disease can cause heart attack, angina, heart failure, and arrhythmias.
The good news is that heart disease is preventable and controllable, and we want to share some heart health tips with you (information courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)).
Be Heart Smart
Some health conditions and lifestyle factors can put people at a higher risk for developing heart disease. You can help prevent heart disease by making healthy choices and managing any medical conditions you may have.
- Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid heart disease and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables—adults should have at least 5 servings each day. Eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt or sodium in your diet also can lower your blood pressure.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate a number called the body mass index (BMI). Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to measure a person's body fat.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
- Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis. You can check your blood pressure at home, at a pharmacy, or at a doctor's office.
- Don't smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.
- Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure. Men should stick to no more than two drinks per day, and women to no more than one.
- Have your cholesterol checked. Your health care provider should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years. Talk with your doctor about this simple blood test.
- Manage your diabetes. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your doctor about treatment options.
- Take your medicine. If you're taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you don't understand something.
Every year, approximately 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. About 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year—that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths.
Know the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack
- Chest discomfort that is intermittent or lasts more than a few minutes
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the chest area
- Unexplainable pain or other areas of the body (both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach)
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
- Breaking out in cold sweat
(In accordance with American Heart Association
If you experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1- immediately
Our Heart and Vascular Center offers a full spectrum of services, including screening and diagnostic tests, advanced medical and surgical treatments, and cardiac rehabilitation and education programs.
Our Women's Heart Center is here to help women take control of their heart health and minimize their risk for heart disease through screenings, education and behavior modification.