February is American Heart Month
One in three people in the United States is affected by heart disease, taking the form of chest pain, heart attacks, heart failure or stroke. Because of this, there are about 790,000 Americans that die from heart disease each year.
The easiest way to prevent heart disease is by knowing the risk factors. By learning the risk factors, assessing them, and learning how to avoid or control them, you can take the first step toward having a healthy heart. Some risk factors can be controlled by you alone, but most cannot. It’s important to understand what things may put you at risk, and then learn what you can do to overcome them.
Common risk factors include:
As with many other conditions, detecting heart disease in its beginning stages is best. However, diagnosing heart diseases early on can be very difficult. It is usually referred to as ‘The Silent Killer’ because there are often no signs or symptoms until an individual experiences a cardiac event. This is why becoming your own health advocate by monitoring your risk factors and taking preventative measures is so important. Having a healthy lifestyle and diet are the two best weapons you have in the fight against heart disease. By knowing your risk factors and by adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can work to reverse the risk factors you have control over. Prevention techniques:
- Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat)
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- High cholesterol
- Tobacco use
- Second-hand smoke exposure
- Ethnicity (African-Americans are most likely to develop a heart condition, followed by white Caucasian, Hispanics, American-Indian/Alaska natives, and Asian & Pacific islanders)
Mile Bluff Medical Center is prepared to help you further prevent heart disease by helping you achieve a heart-healthy lifestyle. Taking control of your health is the best thing you can do to prevent heart disease. To learn more about how Mile Bluff can help, visit www.milebluff.com.
- Stay educated about health.
- Lose any excess weight.
- Exercise at least one hour, five to seven days a week.
- Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke exposure.
- Consume a heart-healthy diet.
- Monitor your calorie intake.
- Have regular blood pressure screenings performed.
- Take your own self interest, and work on a treatment plan with your healthcare provider; medications should only come secondarily.