Heart Disease and How You Can Be at Risk

 In Group Health Insurance

 

On behalf of American Heart Month, We Recognize Heart Disease and How You Can Be at Risk

 

The American Heart Association (AHA) recognizes February as American Heart Month to raise awareness and prevention for cardiovascular disease in the community. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States, killing 1 in 4 people every year. There are many forms of heart disease and the symptoms vary depending on the case. The good news is that it can be prevented and treated with the healthy choices you make every day.

What Are the Symptoms?

Heart disease includes any condition or disease that affects your blood vessels and arteries, along with your heart’s muscle, valves and rhythm. Conditions of these important aspects of the cardiac organ can lead to heart attack, chest pain, or stroke, and unfortunately for a lot of times, you may not be diagnosed until these events occur. That’s why it is critical to keep an eye out for symptoms and maintain routine checkups with your doctor. And the symptoms you experience can also vary depending on what exactly is affected. The most common symptoms include chest fluttering, racing or slow heartbeat; lightheadedness, dizziness, or shortness of breath; chest pain, tightness or pressure, and discomfort; pain, numbness, or swelling in legs and arms; and pain in neck, jaw, upper abdomen and back. Call your doctor if any of these symptoms occur frequently, without cause, and seek immediate attention if you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or fainting. Remember, heart disease can be treatable if its detected early.

What Causes Heart Disease?

Your chances of heart disease increase as you get older and depending on your family history. Men are generally at greater risk of heart disease, but women’s risk increases after menopause. Various medical conditions and lifestyle choices can affect your chances of experiencing cardiovascular problems. Congenital heart disease involves defects that you are born with and typically develop in the womb. Diabetes, obesity, stress, poor exercise and diet, including excessive alcohol consumption, could all put you at high risk of heart disease. Atherosclerosis is the buildup of fatty plaque in your arteries and is the most common cause of cardiovascular disease. Almost half of Americans experience one of these 3 major risk factors – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. Smoking constricts your blood vessels and damages the inner lining, leading to atherosclerosis. High blood pressure thickens and hardens your arteries, which narrows your vessels and make it hard for blood to flow. High cholesterol will increase the formation of plaque.

How Can You Prevent it?

While risk factors vary and some may be uncontrollable, there are ways of maintaining a healthy heart. Reducing your stress, eating right and staying physically active are ways to avoid heart disease and other chronic conditions. According to the AHA, only 1 in 5 adults and teens are getting an adequate amount of exercise to maintain good health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion suggests that aerobic activity, muscle strengthening, and flexibility training should be part of your physical routine. Stress can lead to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, which can result in heart disease if it goes untreated. Practice stress-reducing techniques like meditation, prioritizing responsibilities, and find enjoyable ways to diffuse and relax. Healthy eating and a heart-friendly diet can do so much for your body long term. Read food labels carefully and limit fat, sodium, calories and sweets consumption. The number of calories you should take in a day depends on your age, gender, and level of physical activity. Aim to eat foods that are nutrient-rich, full of minerals, protein and whole grains to help you control your weight, cholesterol and blood pressure.

Talk with Your Healthcare Team

Discuss with your healthcare provider and insurance agent about how to prevent and treat medical conditions that lead to heart disease. Healthcare consultants can provide you with the right plans that offer preventative care and benefits to treat any current conditions. Meet with your doctor for a health assessment, ask questions, and make up a plan to regularly monitor your heart health. From there, practice a health-mindful lifestyle with your family and continue the fight against cardiovascular disease.

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