Heart disease is a major public health problem across the globe. It is a major cause of disability, loss of productive life years, and death. The good news is, you may be able to prevent it by making some simple lifestyle changes.
What Is Heart Disease?
In fact, heart disease is a broad term. It includes any disorder that affects normal heart functions. Since it is a major organ, its disorder is one of the major causes of death. This may occur if you do not get prompt treatment. Some common forms include narrowed blood vessels (inside the heart) and abnormal heart rhythms. Also, it includes structural defects that are present right after your birth. These are called congenital heart defects.
Heart Disease Numbers Indicate Serious Health Problem
Heart disease and heart attack threaten to kill more people than any other preventable disorder. With that being said, you can control it. But the rising heart disease numbers only indicate deteriorating health of people on a global level.
Regrettably, it has also plagued the lives of a significant number of American people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data on heart disease numbers shows it is the cause for 1 out of every four deaths. Both men and women have the same risk. Nevertheless, many people wrongly call it a man’s disease.
Currently, 28.4 million US adults are living with heart disease.
It is also a major cause of economic burden. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), it costs the US around $315 billion every year. Sadly, health expenses have been rising each year.
Know the Basics of Heart Disease: What Are They?
- Coronary heart disease (CHD): The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute defines CHD as the deposition off atty substances on the inner wall of the arteries. These arteries are present in the heart. Therefore, when the blood flow through them is restricted, the heart muscles do not get enough blood supply. As a result, it may lead to other conditions. Most notably, chest pain (angina) and heart attack.
- Angina: It is not a disease in itself. Rather, it is a symptom of an underlying problem. Angina on its own is not fatal. But, if you ignore it time and again, it can be potentially dangerous. Stats suggest almost 7 million Americans have angina.
- Heart attack: It is a more serious complication that results due to an ongoing CHD. When a section of the heart does not get sufficient oxygen, the affected tissue may die. Then, scar tissues It is a medical emergency and failure to get treatment right away may lead to death. In fact, 15% of heart attack patients will eventually die as a result of the complications. It affects about 735,000 Americans each year.
- Stroke: Also known as a brain attack, it is not essentially heart disease. Yet, both have many common causes and preventive measures. A stroke occurs when your brain does not get enough oxygen. It can be due to narrowing of the arteries that supply the brain. Alternately, bleeding in those arteries can also cause it. In any case, it is a medical emergency. It is responsible for 1 out of every 20 deaths. The annual economic burden of stroke is $33 billion. Survivors who are above 65 years have a high risk of long-term disability.
What Are Heart Disease Risk Factors?
The common heart disease risk factors include:
- Smoking and heavy drinking
- Family history
- High-fat diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Mental stress
What You Can Do To Control Heart Disease
To prevent heart disease, you may consider the following measures. That way, you will not only be able to control heart disease, but also lower the risk of stroke.
- Stop smoking if you smoke. Do not start if you have not started yet. If you cannot quit on your own, seek professional help.
- Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Also, keep sugar levels in control.
- Stay active. Aim for moderate intensity activity at least 5 days a week.
- Cut down sodium intake
- Maintain a healthy BMI: Keep your weight in check.
- Drink in moderation, if you have to.
- Learn to manage stress. Talk to your doctor about the stress management techniques. For example, yoga, meditation, and others.
- Follow a healthy diet. Make sure to include whole grains, low-fat milk products, and protein lean meats, poultry, and seafood. Also eat more nuts, seeds, beans, and peas.
Points to Know
- You can reduce the number of deaths from heart disease. That is when you recognize the warning signs. They include chest pain that radiates to the shoulder, neck, or jaw and breathing difficulties. Some may have other signs too. For example, nausea and vomiting, sweating, and abnormal heartbeat. If you have any of these signs, get to the emergency room right away.
- The key heart disease risk factors are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels, and smoking. According to the CDC, one or more risk factors are present in 47% of Americans. You can control all these with some lifestyle tweaks.
- As a matter of fact, you will not be able to prevent congenital heart defects. But you can ask your doctor about some procedures or corrective surgery.
Want To Know More?
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