Heart Disease Can Be Serious
If you are like most people, you take a healthy heart for granted… until you experience symptoms, or your physician detects evidence that something is not quite right with your heart’s function. Based on the latest statistics provided by the American Heart Association, nearly half of U.S. adults have some form of cardiovascular disease. Although deaths as a result of heart disease are on the decline — mostly due to improvements in diagnosis and treatment — heart disease doesn’t play favorites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease continues to be the leading cause of mortality in the U.S. for men and women of most racial and ethnic groups.
Keeping Your Heart Healthy
Heart disease is preventable. By following a healthy lifestyle (best started at a young age, but it’s never too late), you can get a head start on preventing heart disease. By changing harmful behaviors and taking medications as prescribed by your physician, you can reduce the threats posed by high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Should heart disease progress, Cardiac Partners is here to provide a diagnosis, prescribe medications, and offer procedures or devices to best manage your condition.
Although heredity is a factor in determining whether you are at risk for heart disease, by maintaining a healthier heart, you can potentially live longer and feel better. Start with regular checkups with your primary care physician and see us at Cardiac Partners if you have concerns about your heart health.
To maintain a healthy heart, pay attention to what your body tells you, and adopt healthy lifestyle habits, such as:
- Staying physically active and exercising regularly
- Eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat, trans fat, and salt
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Lowering and controlling your blood pressure
- Avoiding smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke
- Drinking only in moderation
- Monitoring and controlling your blood sugar if you have diabetes
- Lowering and controlling your cholesterol level
What is Heart Disease?
What we call heart disease isn’t a single disease or ailment. Rather, it is one of several conditions that affect your heart’s health. You may have also heard the term cardiovascular disease. Cardio refers to the heart itself — the muscle that pumps blood through your vascular system — blood vessels, arteries, and veins.
Together, your heart and blood vessels form your circulatory system. Because this system is interconnected, anything that affects one part can have an impact on the other parts. So, if you have arteriosclerosis — hardening of the arteries caused by fatty buildup — your heart must work harder to pump blood and your blood pressure will likely be elevated.
Many conditions affect the heart muscle, valves, and arteries, and the sac that surrounds the heart. Each part plays an important role. The heart muscle pumps blood through your arteries; valves ensure that oxygen-rich blood moves into your arteries and oxygen-depleted blood is returned to the lungs to be replenished. Coronary arteries supply blood to the heart muscle. Your heart is protected by a surrounding sac. This system is highly efficient and effective. However, with heart disease, the system doesn’t function properly because of a problem with one or more components. Left untreated, this condition can lead to a serious and possibly even life-threatening heart event.
Here are the some of the more common diseases and conditions that affect the heart and the associated symptoms. Many diseases that affect the heart share common symptoms, such as chest pain, fatigue, and shortness of breath.