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American Heart Month

February has been designated American Heart Month since 1964. President Lyndon B. Johnson made the observance official with Proclamation 3566, signed Dec. 30, 1963.

Cardiovascular disease impacts nearly half of American adults these days, according to one new study. Unfortunately, heart disease impacts much of the working population. Research found it’s also responsible for more healthcare costs than any other injuries or diseases.

Luckily, heart disease prevention is possible. Making healthier lifestyle choices — like quitting smoking — can reduce the chance of someone developing heart disease. Understanding the risks of heart disease and the symptoms of a heart attack may ultimately save someone’s life.

Here are some heart health facts to keep in mind:

  • Heart disease kills more than 600,000 Americans every year. Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for Americans.
  • Unhealthy habits contribute to heart disease. Not getting enough exercise, unhealthy eating, and smoking increase your chance of developing heart disease. Additionally, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol are other factors that can increase your risk.
  • Chest discomfort or a heart attack is the first sign of heart disease. Heart attack symptoms often include discomfort in the center of the chest. It can feel like squeezing, uncomfortable pressure, fullness, or pain. Shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, lightheadedness, and nausea are also heart attack symptoms.
  • Some people are born with heart disease. A congenital heart defect starts at birth. Most of these heart disease issues include leaky valves or structural issues like holes in the heart.
  • Women have the less typical heart attack signs. Women are somewhat more likely than men to experience uncommon symptoms and signs, like neck or jaw pain prior to having a heart attack.
  • The most common heart disease is coronary artery disease. This disease develops when your major blood vessels that supply the heart with blood, nutrients, and oxygen become diseased or damaged.

The most prevalent and highly associated risk factors to look for include:

  • High blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Smoking.
  • Diabetes.
  • Obesity and being overweight.
  • Diets with poor nutrition and high in trans fats.
  • Physical inactivity.
  • Substance abuse.

In addition, here are some facts regarding heart disease in women:

  • 43 million women are currently living with some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • More than 2.6 million women have a history of heart attack.
  • 33% of women do not engage in leisure-time physical activity.
  • 60% of Anglo women, 79.9% of African-American women, and 78% of Hispanic-American women are overweight or obese.
  • Among Mexican-American women, 31% have cardiovascular disease.

Schedule an appointment with your primary healthcare provider.

Getting an exam will help you know whether you’re at risk of developing heart disease. Once you have completed your exam, it’s easy to identify ways to live a healthier lifestyle. There’s no substitute for a medical professional’s expertise and advice.

If you’re concerned about your heart health, contact your primary healthcare provider today to schedule an appointment. If you do not have a primary healthcare provider, contact the CCMH Medical Clinic at 712-265-2700 or go online to request an appointment.

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