Don’t Be a Statistic – Protect Your Heart!
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States – more than
cancer or accidents – and accounts for one of every four
deaths. Of the 735,000 Americans who have a heart attack each
year, for 525,000, it is their first heart attack.1
Are you putting yourself at risk?
While “heart disease” includes congenital heart defects (those you are born
with), many forms of heart disease can be treated – or avoided altogether – with
healthy lifestyle choices. Risk factors include:
- Age. Your risk of heart disease increases with age.
Gender. Men are generally at greater risk of heart disease.
Genetics. If a close relative developed heart disease
before the age of 55, you may be at increased risk.
Smoking. Heart attacks are more common in smokers than in
Cancer therapies. Some chemotherapy drugs and radiation
therapies may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Diet. A diet that's high in fat, salt, sugar and
cholesterol can contribute to the development of heart disease.
Blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to hardening
and thickening of your arteries.
Cholesterol levels. High levels of cholesterol in your
blood can increase the risk of formation of plaques and atherosclerosis.
Diabetes. Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease.
Obesity. Carrying extra weight can lead to other
Inactivity. Lack of exercise increases your risk of
developing heart disease.
- Stress. Unrelieved stress may damage your arteries.
Hygiene. Poor hygiene, including dental care, can lead to
viral or bacterial infections that can put you at risk of heart
Protect your heart with healthy behaviors
There are things that you can do to protect your heart and reduce your chance of
developing heart disease. If you have already been diagnosed with heart disease,
these lifestyle changes can help you avoid further complications:
Quit smoking. Your lungs aren’t the only organ that will
benefit when you become a non-smoker. After just one year as a non-smoker,
you will cut your risk of developing heart disease by 50%! Talk to your
doctor about medications that can help you quit or to your Health Mart
pharmacist about over-the-counter cessation aids.
Get active. Are you one of the four in five American adults
who do not get enough physical activity? Find activities you will enjoy and
can do in your own home or community.
Eat healthy. A recent study found that about 45% of deaths
from heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes were from poor eating
habits. The big culprits? Too much salt, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened
drinks and too few nuts, omega-3 fats, vegetables, and fruits.
Maintain a healthy weight. Even if your blood pressure and
cholesterol numbers currently look good, obesity can still increase your
risk of heart disease.3
Consult with your doctor. Stay in touch with your doctor to
monitor your heart health with regular check-ups. Know your numbers – blood
cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar – and follow your doctor’s
Don’t wait – call 911
Know the warning signs of a heart attack and act quickly if you or someone you
know might be having a heart attack. The sooner you get treatment, the better
your chances of a positive outcome.
Common warning signs include:
Chest pain or discomfort (uncomfortable pressure,
squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It may last a few
minutes or go away and come back)
Upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw,
or upper stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweats4
Women may experience a heart attack very differently than men. While women can
experience the classic symptom of chest pain or pressure, they may instead
experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper
abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme
Because their symptoms can vary from classic signs of a heart attack, women often
pass off signs of a heart attack as acid reflux, the flu, aging or other
Health Mart. Caring for you and about you.
Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a
substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of
your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or
concerns about a medical condition.
CDC: "Leading Causes of Death." Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm
Benjamin EJ et al. Circulation. "Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2018
Update: A Report from the American Heart Association." Available at: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000558
CDC: “Heart Disease Facts.” Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
American Heart Association: “Heart Attack Symptoms in Women.” Available at:
Posted on Fri, February 1, 2019
by Health Mart