In honor of American Heart Month, here are some important facts you should know about Heart Health, the #1 killer of both men and women in the United States!
Did you know that 1 in 3 people in the United States will die from Heart Disease? (1) It’s frequently called the ‘Silent Killer’ because people often don’t know they have Heart Disease until they’re experiencing a heart attack. Here are some facts about what causes Heart Disease, and simple lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk factors.
The top factors that increase your risk for Heart Disease are: (2)
- Physical Inactivity
- High Blood Pressure
- Cigarette Smoking
- High Cholesterol
Additional Risk Factors:
- Exposure to secondhand smoke can increase the risk for heart disease in non-smokers, and is especially dangerous for people who already have heart disease. Avoid even brief exposure. (3)
- Genetic factors likely play some role in high blood pressure, heart disease, and other related conditions. However, it is also likely that people with a family history of heart disease share common environments and other factors that may increase their risk.
- Heart disease and stroke can affect anyone, but some groups are more likely to have conditions that increase their risk for cardiovascular disease.
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States, including African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, and white people. For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and Hispanics, heart disease is second only to cancer. (4)
- New studies show an increased risk of heart problems including clots and heart attacks in people who had Covid-19, even mild cases. Younger people, aged 25 - 44 are among those seeing the highest spikes in heart attacks. Because Covid is so recent, researchers are still studying the ongoing and long-term effects of infection. At this point, they believe the correlation between Covid and heart attack can be attributed to (A:) Covid triggering previously undetected heart disease or (B:) the inflammation to the cells caused by Covid. (5)
- You’re in the majority. 90% of Americans eat too much sodium, which increases your risk for high blood pressure – a major contributor to Heart Disease! (6)
Taking Charge of Your Heart Health:
- Simple lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of Heart Disease. Getting some kind of physical activity on most days is one way to improve your heart health. (7)
- Choose to eat more healthy foods and limit the amount of alcohol you drink. (8) Not sure how to improve your diet? Here are numerous recipes and meal plan ideas from the Million Hearts Program.
- Know your numbers! The measurements that indicate you might be at risk for Diabetes also indicate your risk for Heart Disease. Be sure to have your doctor check your Blood Pressure, Cholesterol Levels, Weight and BMI. Your waist size is another important number to know. People who carry extra weight around their abdomen are at higher risk of heart attack. (9)
- Quitting smoking can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease in a short time, as damage to the heart and blood vessels is repaired quickly. Need some extra motivation to quit? Take a look at this chart that shows exactly how smoking affects your body. You can get help quitting by calling the National Quit Line, 1-800-Quit-Now, or visiting Tobacco Free Florida.
- Reducing stress and getting more sleep have numerous health benefits, and just plain make you feel better day to day. (10)
What to do if You Think You’re Having a Heart Attack:
- Traditional symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain; feeling light-headed or weak; pain in in the jaw, neck or back; pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders; shortness of breath. (11)
- Women may experience different symptoms of Heart Disease or heart attack than men. Common indicators include: chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath - or no symptoms at all! With Heart Failure, women may also experience fatigue, or swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins (12)
IF YOU EVER BELIEVE YOU ARE EXPERIENCING A HEART ATTACK, CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY! THE FASTER YOU GET PROFESSIONAL TREATMENT, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF SURVIVAL AND RECOVERY!
- Florida is one of several states with the highest number of people with Heart Disease. Learn about the government’s Million Hearts program, a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks by 2027 years, by encouraging simple lifestyle changes.
- Centers for Disease Control
- CDC’s Wise Woman Program
- National Institutes of Health
- Live to the Beat
- American Heart Association
- American Heart Association Florida - Greater Miami-Fort Lauderdale
- Women’s Breast & Heart Initiative
IF YOU EVER BELIEVE YOU ARE EXPERIENCING A HEART ATTACK, CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY!
THE FASTER YOU GET PROFESSIONAL TREATMENT, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF SURVIVAL AND RECOVERY!
Cox Media Group