3 Things Everyone Should Know About Heart Diseases
This article is based on an interview with Dr. John Herre, the Medical Director for the Advanced Heart Failure Program at Sentara Hospitals-Norfolk. Over the past 20 years, he has been helping build Sentara Heart Hospital and teaching at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Dr. John Herre full bio clicks here.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed February American Heart Month with the goal of educating Americans about heart diseases. Below are 3 things everyone should know about heart disease.
Understand Different Kinds of Heart Diseases
While there are many different kinds of heart diseases they can be broken down into two categories: preventable and non-preventable.
- The Preventable
- Coronary Artery Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and makes up for 50%-60% of heart diseases. Coronary Artery Disease (CHD) usually occurs when fatty material and other substances form a plaque build-up on the walls of coronary arteries.
- The Non-Preventable
No matter the type of heart disease, patients all receive the same treatment so doctors focus more on how to treat the patient than determining the exact cause of heart failure. The cause of heart failure doesnâ€™t dictate your course of treatment but it will give doctors an idea of how your heart will handle certain types of treatments.
What You Can Do To Prevent Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary Artery Disease is completely preventable. Below is a list of things you can do to lower your risk:
- A heart-healthy diet is important. Many of times the build-up of plaque in the arteries come from fatty foods. A diet that is low in fat and cholesterol is recommended.
- Regular exercise is necessary; it helps reduce the chances of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. A 30 to a 60-minute session about 3 to 5 times a week is recommended.
- Regular Check-ups
- These check-ups should include regular screenings for blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. If everyone had these screenings during yearly check-ups then more than half of heart diseases could be prevented. This simple step could make a big difference.
- Treating Cholesterol and Diabetes
- If diagnosed with either one of these illnesses, it is extremely important to be following the prescribed treatment by your doctor. Failure to do so can contribute to heart disease.
- Not smoking or using tobacco
- Tobacco users are simply at a higher risk for a number of things, also including heart disease.
- Male or female know the signs and symptoms or heart disease
- If it is caught early enough then there are a lot more options for treatment and a higher success rate. Symptoms that should cause concern are chest pain, chest pressure, and shortness of breath over an extended period of time. Often people get misdiagnosed with having pneumonia or even menopause for women. Remember, if you are experiencing symptoms outside the norm of the diagnosed illness then it probably isn’t the illness you were diagnosed with, and you should get reevaluated as soon as possible.
What You Can Do To Help
More than 82 million American adults are estimated to suffer from some form of heart disease. Below are some things that you can do to help fight the number one killer of Americans.
- Be an organ donor
- Even with the advancement of heart disease treatment, people that do not receive a new heart have a life expectancy of up to 3 years. As of now, there are 3,203 people on the waiting list to receive a heart transplant in America. Each year there are roughly 2,000 heart transplants done in North America. To really drive this home, worldwide there are 3,500 heart transplants performed every year; about 800,000 people have a Class IV heart defect and need a new organ. To learn more about being an organ donor visit: www.organdonor.gov/
- Educate yourself and pass along information
- Know the things that are listed above. Forward this article to friends and family. Approximately half of the deaths from heart disease could have been prevented if they knew more about the preventable risk factor and symptoms.
1. Myocarditis- viral, bacterial, or fungal infections to the heart that causes inflammation
2. Peripartum cardiomyopathy- occurs during or after pregnancy and is when the heart muscle cannot pump adequate amounts of blood to the body’s vital organs
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