Humans are living longer than ever, yet despite this growing positive trend, every year thousands of people worldwide die from heart disease. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. The good news, however, is that heart disease is considered a preventable condition. February is heart health month so GTEC wants to take this opportunity to educate our readers and patients about heart disease and what they can do to reduce their risks.
What Is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is a broad term that encompasses a wide variety of diseases and defects of the cardiovascular system including arteries, veins, blood vessels, and the heart itself. Typically when people refer to heart disease, cardiovascular disease, or coronary artery disease, they are referring to a buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries. This buildup is atherosclerosis.
This plaque buildup is very dangerous because it can result in a heart attack or stroke. A blockage of blood flow to the extremities can also result in pain, infections, numbness, or even gangrene. When plaque builds up, they can cause blood clots in the affected area or may travel to different parts of the body, causing blockages there. If the clot goes to the brain it can cause a stroke.
Know the Symptoms and Don’t Wait
Chest pain and shortness of breath are two of the most common symptoms of heart disease and often proceed a heart attacks. Other symptoms can be nausea, indigestion, heartburn, abdominal pain, pressure, tightness, pain, or squeezing in the chest or arms and may spread to your neck, jaw, or back. The acronym FAST is used to help detect a stroke victim. The acronym stands for Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Time.
When it comes to heart attacks and strokes time is of the essence. Do not wait to see if your condition improves if you feel like you may be having a heart attack or stroke seek immediate emergency medical care and do not try to drive yourself to the ER. You could potentially lose consciousness while behind the wheel and cause an accident.
Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease with Exercise
To maintain optimal heart health, the Heart Foundation, recommends engaging in aerobic exercise on a regular basis, either thirty minutes, five days a week at a moderate level, or twenty minutes, three days a week at a vigorous level. Remember that everyone has a different fitness level and what is moderate or vigorous to one person may be too intensive or not intensive enough for someone else. If you’re concerned about your general health or heart, be sure to discuss exercise plans with your doctor before beginning.
Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease with Diet and Lifestyle Choices
The Heart Foundation recommends a diet that is low in salt, trans fats, and saturated fats, but high in unsaturated fats. Trans fats and Saturated fats are fatty or deep fried foods unsaturated fats are those found in avocado and fish. They also recommend limiting alcohol consumption, not smoking, and avoiding recreational drug use.
Maintaining a healthy weight and keeping cholesterol levels in check are extremely important. You actually have two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) the ‘bad’ type and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) the ‘good’ type. Foods high in LDL’s are milk, butter, cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream. Foods that are high in HDL’s are soy foods, leafy green vegetables, walnut, flaxseed, and fish.
Golden Triangle Emergency Center’s goal is always to provide the resources, including health information our community needs to stay safe and healthy. However, when sickness or injuries do strike, Golden Triangle Emergency Center is there 24/7, 365 days a year with gold standard in emergency and industrial care.
Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Golden Triangle Emergency Center or any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.