Heart disease is a silent creeper. A person who seems perfectly healthy one day, might suddenly be diagnosed with cardiac problems the next.
That is why the American Heart Association has made February, American Heart Month, to help spread awareness about cardiac health. All through this month, there are awareness campaigns all over the country to make people more conscious about heart health.
Most aren’t aware that cardiac problems are the leading cause of death in the US. The heart never stops beating, and that makes it the hardest working organ in the body. It pumps nearly 9,500 liters of blood every day, and like every other muscle, the heart also needs exercise and maintenance. That makes a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle, essential elements for a healthy heart.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that heart attacks are the most common disease in the country. One American suffers from a heart attack every 25 seconds, and one dies from an attack every minute. Surprisingly, women account for more than half the deaths from heart disease. Cardiac disease is the third leading cause of death among women ages 25 to 44, the second leading cause of death for ages 45 to 64, 65 and for women over 65 it is the leading cause of death.
You are at a risk of heart disease if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity or diabetes, or have a family history of cardiac disease. Smokers and drinkers are also in a high risk category. A high-stress lifestyle, coupled with alcoholic drinks and caffeine, increases the risk of cardiac problems.
Various types of heart disease include;
Coronary artery disease: Although one of the most common heart problems, coronary artery disease often goes undiagnosed because it doesn’t always have symptoms. Some of the common signs include shortness of breath, missed heart beats, dizziness, and chest pain.
Cardiac arrest: Also known as a heart attack, cardiac arrest is marked by chest pain, loss of consciousness, and unresponsiveness. Fatigue, dizziness, blackouts, shortness of breath, palpitations, and vomiting are some of the symptoms preceding a cardiac arrest.
Congestive heart failure: Shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, chest pain, dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, and swollen legs are the most common symptoms.
Arrhythmia: A fluttering heart is the most common symptom, and therefor often times goes undiagnosed.
Spreading awareness is important in order to make people more conscious about cardiac health. There are several important things you can do to spread the word this month to celebrate American Heart Month. Wearing red is an easy way to show solidarity with the cause, generating financial support for combating cardiac disease and stroke, and sharing on social media with the tag #WearRedandGive are some of the ways American Heart Association suggests people spread the word.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating foods low in cholesterol, going for regular medical checkups, and getting exercise are the ways to fight heart disease. If you have a family history of heart disease, make sure to speak to your doctor to find ways to keep yourself healthy and your heart too! If you or someone you love is experiencing any of the above risk factors, please make an appointment with your cardiologist to rule out heart disease.