This American Heart Month, learn about the risks of heart disease and find out how to lead a healthy lifestyle.
According to the American Heart Association, almost half of all U.S. citizens ages 18 and older have some form of heart disease due to various factors. That percentage adds up to about 121.5 million adults in the U.S. alone. Though this may seem inevitable by numbers, staying informed on risk factors and taking preventive measures to protect your heart health can decrease your risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
Common examples of cardiovascular diseases include coronary artery disease, which contributes highly to heart attack; atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm that causes blood clots; and mitral valve prolapse, a backflow in the heart that can increase infection risk. Since these diseases are diagnosed every day in the United States, it’s likely that you or someone you know may be affected. However, preventive measures such as daily exercise and maintaining a healthy diet have proven beneficial in decreasing your risk.
Risk factors include, but are not limited to, high blood pressure, abnormally high or low cholesterol, obesity, excessive blood sugar levels, excessive consumption of alcohol and smoking of tobacco products. It’s important to stay informed about where you stand on these risk factors year-round, but the American Heart Association’s educational initiatives during American Heart Month are a great place to start with improving your heart health.
If you think you may be at risk, consider lifestyle changes to get on track. This includes exercise, maintaining a proper diet, refraining from smoking, limiting alcohol consumption and monitoring your blood pressure numbers inside and outside of the doctor’s office. It’s also imperative to schedule routine annual physicals and inform your doctor of any family history relating to heart disease.
Working with your doctor and staying informed on not just heart disease statistics, but of your own health numbers, will help you with leading a healthy heart lifestyle.
Five Things You May Not Know About Heart Disease
Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Staying educated about the illness and your risk factors could save your life.
1. One in every four deaths in the United States are due to heart disease.
2. Nearly half of Americans have at least one of the three main risk factors for heart disease, which includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol and use of tobacco.
3. Avoiding foods high in sodium, saturated fat and trans fat can decrease your chances of developing heart disease.
4. Coronary heart disease is the most common form of heart disease. It affects one in 16 women over the age of 20.
5. Alcohol can contribute to your risk for heart disease. It’s suggested that women only consume one alcoholic beverage per day and that men should limit themselves to two alcoholic beverages per day.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention