Don’t Take Heart Disease Lightly

By: Amanda Blount

One of the leading causes of death in the United States is heart disease. Since February is Heart Health Month, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate some of your lifestyle choices and decide whether they’re worth the risk!  Take a stand and take control of your health. You can make a difference in preventing heart disease by encouraging those around you to have their hearts checked and commit to heart-healthy lifestyles!

What is Heart Disease:

Heart disease includes a wide variety of diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Coronary heart disease, otherwise known as cardiovascular disease, is one of the most common heart diseases in the United States.  This is especially concerning as cardiovascular disease can lead to more concerning health issues. This condition is one in which the narrowing or blocking of blood vessels can lead to a heart attack, chest pain, or stroke.

 

Symptoms:

It is important to watch for cardiovascular symptoms and discuss any concerns with your doctor. Symptoms can differ between men and women but it is important to know both so that you know what to look for in your loved ones. Symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pressure
  • Chest discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain
  • Numbness, weakness, or coldness in your legs/arms
    • This can mean that the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back

One easy way to detect cardiovascular disease early is by going in for regular evaluations. This provides ample opportunities to talk to your doctor about any concerns regarding your heart health or lifestyle changes that may benefit you.

 

Risk Factors:

There are many factors that play into developing heart disease. These range from natural causes to lifestyle choices to medical conditions.  Common risk factors are as follows:

  • Aging
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Poor diet
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Stress
  • Poor hygiene

There are some risk factors you may not be able to avoid such as heart defects and other medical conditions, but there are many factors that lie within your control.

 

What You Can Do:

Making lifestyle changes can drastically reduce your chances of developing heart disease. Some examples of these lifestyle improvements could involve quitting smoking, exercising at least 30 minutes a day, eating a diet low in sodium and saturated fat, maintaining a healthy weight, maintaining stress levels, and practicing good hygiene. Make a stand in your own life and do not wait until it is too late. The life decisions you make in your present reflects your future life, so do not take heart disease lightly.

 

 

 

Reference

Heart disease. (2017, October 06).

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118

 

Heart Disease. (2018, February 12).

https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/index.htm

 

Heart Disease | MedlinePlus.

https://medlineplus.gov/heartdiseases.html