Did you know heart disease is a leading cause of death in America? In fact, according to the CDC, 1 in every 5 deaths in the U.S. are related to cardiovascular (heart) disease.
Most adults in the U.S. have at least one risk factor for developing heart disease, which increases their risk of heart attacks, strokes, and even heart failure. Though certain factors place everyone at risk of heart disease, people of color and women are more likely to be impacted.
Additionally, a person’s genetics and physical environment play a role in the development of heart disease and other related conditions.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a major risk factor for heart disease. High blood pressure occurs when blood flow in the arteries, veins, and organs is too high, potentially severely damaging the body. It’s typically known as the ‘silent killer’ because it usually has no symptoms. Monitoring your blood pressure is the only way to know if it’s high.
High blood pressure is a condition that is not limited by age, meaning that young people can have it too. In fact, high blood pressure among adolescents is on the rise and has been linked to additional health problems later in life.
What is heart disease?
Heart disease refers to various conditions that affect the heart, the most common being coronary heart disease which involves the arteries becoming clogged and narrowed by plaque. Plaque is a combination of substances in the blood, including fat, cholesterol, and calcium, which can build up in the arteries causing blockages. The blockage reduces the amount of blood flowing to and from the heart resulting in possible chest pain. Additionally, plaque can form into a blood clot, completely stopping the blood flow to the heart – the most common cause of heart attacks.
How do I keep my heart healthy?
Making healthy heart decisions is easier when you know the risk factors for heart disease. Other factors known to increase the risk of developing heart disease include high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.
Additionally, lifestyle behaviors that increase the risk of heart disease include poor nutrition, lack of physical movement, excessive alcohol consumption, and nicotine/tobacco use.
Once you know your risk, taking care of your heart health is as easy as remembering the ABCS.
A- Take aspirin as directed by your medical provider
B- Manage and monitor your blood pressure
C- Manage and monitor your cholesterol
S- Don’t smoke
Although many factors contribute to an individual’s risk for heart disease, you can take control of your heart’s health by scheduling an appointment with a healthcare provider today!