Heart disease is a common concern for many individuals, especially because it’s the leading cause of death in the United States (U.S.). Approximately 610,000 people die each year in the U.S. from heart disease, which is the equivalent of 25 percent of deaths in America. Globally, it’s the number one killer as well. The American Heart Association (AHA) states that 17.3 million deaths worldwide are attributed to heart disease, and this number is expected to grow to 23.6 million by 2030, as projected by the AHA.
Why is Heart Disease So Prevalent?
Atherosclerosis is the most common reason for cardiovascular disease. It’s caused by a plaque that builds up along the arterial walls. This stiffens and thickens the vessels, inhibiting blood from flowing through the body normally. Most of the time, atherosclerosis is preventable by exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, getting help to lose weight, eating healthy and not smoking.
Another reason for heart problems being so prevalent is because of a number of health concerns including obesity. Obesity and even being overweight increases a person’s likelihood of developing heart disease and dying of either a stroke or a heart attack. The excess weight causes a person’s heart muscle to work much harder than it needs to, and this wears out the heart.Diabetes is another result of obesity. A majority of type II diabetes cases are preventable by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and eating healthy. Those who already have diabetes may prevent serious complications by incorporating a healthy lifestyle.
What Can I Do?
Losing even a small amount of weight if you’re overweight or obese is enough to reduce your chances of heart disease. Ultimately though, you want to aim toward your recommended BMI for your height. Sadly enough, about 75 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, which is one of the leading factors in the high number of heart disease-related deaths.
High cholesterol is another risk factor. Although it’s common for those who are overweight, anyone can have high cholesterol levels and never know because it’s a silent condition that can cause serious complications when not diagnosed. It’s important to have your cholesterol tested at least once per year as you age.
Some issues that lead to heart disease, such as age, aren’t preventable. As you grow older, your heart muscle tends to thicken or weaken, causing it work harder and wear out. Women are more likely to have heart disease after menopause, but men are in general at a greater risk. Your likelihood of developing it is greater when you have a family history of it. In addition to maintaining healthy lifestyle habits, have your blood pressure and blood sugar checked regularly, monitor your health carefully especially if you have risk factors.
Complications of heart disease can lead to a person having limited mobility due to it causing shortness of breath. Chest pains may interfere with daily living. Heart palpitations and fainting may happen. Not to mention, having heart problems will cause a physician to place restrictions on what you can and cannot do. Pain, weakness and numbness throughout different areas of the body are common. Once the heart is no longer able to function or the arteries become blocked, a heart attack may occur and in some cases be fatal. A stroke can occur as a result of heart disease and may be deadly or cause severe problems with movement, speech and brain function.
Whether you’re looking for a screening or more advice on how to prevent cardiac problems, book an appointment at Boulevard Medical Healthcare or call us at (718) 325-9532. Our experienced team will guide you on the road to a happy, healthy heart.