If your arteries are blocked due to plaque buildup or if you’ve had a heart attack, you have heart disease. Also sometimes referred to as cardiovascular disease, heart disease is a broad medical term that includes any condition that affects heart function or health.
Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death of both men and women in the United States. But that’s not the only surprising fact that Nikunj Patel, MD, FACC, and his team at Neosculpt Laser Vein & Cosmetic Surgery Center want to share with you about heart disease. Knowing some of the facts may help improve your heart health so you don’t become a statistic.
1. Most cases of heart disease are preventable
When it comes to heart disease risk, many factors are at play — some you can control and some you can’t. Age and genetics may be a factor in your development of heart disease, but many of the other factors are those you can affect, such as:
- Controlling blood pressure
- Keeping your cholesterol and triglycerides in a healthy range
- Limiting alcohol
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly
Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. It raises blood pressure and increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Smoking-related heart disease risk decreases as soon as you quit. If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, your risk of having a heart attack reduces by as much as 50% after one year of quitting.
Carrying excess weight is also a risk factor for heart disease. Losing even a modest amount can lower your blood pressure, improve your metabolism, and benefit heart function.
2. You can survive a heart attack if you know the symptoms
A heart attack occurs when there’s a blockage in your coronary artery, preventing oxygen-rich blood from getting to your heart. More than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack each year. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack can get you the help you need quickly and improve your chances of survival.
Common symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in your arm, shoulder, back, or jaw
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Breaking out in a cold sweat
Chest pain is the most common symptom both men and women experience when they’re having a heart attack. But women may experience more of the other symptoms, such as nausea, lightheadedness, or back or jaw pain during a heart attack.
If you’re experiencing chest pain, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room for a medical work-up.
3. Sitting for long periods is not good for your heart
Most Americans spend more than half of their waking hours sitting either at their desk in front of a computer or on the couch in front of the television. A lack of daily activity, even if you include planned exercise, may increase your risk of heart disease, according to a 2015 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers aren’t sure why sitting all day is such a health hazard but theorize that it may affect how your body metabolizes fat and sugar.
You may be able to reduce health risk by standing and walking for a few minutes every half hour while you’re at work. You can invest in a standing desk or treadmill desk to help yourself reduce inactivity. When at home, stand up and move around during each commercial break.
Heart disease is a killer, but you can take steps to regain control over your health and your heart. For interventional cardiology, call Dr. Patel at Neosculpt Laser Vein & Cosmetic Surgery Center, or use the online booking button to request an appointment.