MEDICAL COLUMN: Take steps to beat heart disease | Lifestyles

According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the life of a person approximately every 34 seconds. The signs and symptoms are not only very varied, they can appear unexpectedly and quickly become critical. Therefore, many are encouraged to visit their family doctor regularly to detect an individual’s potential heart disease risk.

What is heart disease and why is it important?

Heart disease is a general term used to describe disorders that affect the structure or function of the heart. This can include heart valve disease, irregular heartbeats known as arrhythmias, and blockage of blood vessels supplying oxygen to the heart. Diseased or damaged blood vessels surrounding the heart are the most common cause of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the World Health Organization.

Doctors are often asked questions such as “Who gets it?” How can I prevent it? What are some of the risk factors for heart disease? by their patients. Although some risk factors such as age, gender and family history cannot be changed; there are ways to reduce the risk of heart disease, putting you in control of your heart health. This would include methods such as maintaining a healthy body weight, managing stress, and preventing tobacco and alcohol use. Many risk factors can be controlled through lifestyle choices, diet, and exercise, but also through methods such as controlling blood pressure, maintaining blood sugar and cholesterol levels. adequate through monitoring with regular examinations.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Heart disease is more common than some think, affecting both women and men, with the risk increasing with age. Although there are some common symptoms such as chest pain (especially during activity), some common symptoms of heart disease include chest, neck or arm pain or palpitations (the feeling of jumping or heart beats).

There are more subtle symptoms such as weakness, dizziness, nausea, cold sweats and shortness of breath that could explain why some people wait too late to see a doctor. Left untreated, heart disease can progress to heart failure, life-threatening irregular heartbeats, or even heart attacks (damage to the heart muscle due to lack of blood flow).

If you have one or more of these heart disease symptoms mentioned above, you should probably seek further medical evaluation. I recommend that you see your family doctor for risk factor screening. Together we can reduce your risk factors for heart disease. Heart disease is common and older people have a higher risk. Knowing the signs, symptoms and risk factors can save your life. check with your family doctor to find out.

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