Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States?
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases account for approximately $320 billion in health care expenditures and related expenses annually and are among the most widespread health problems facing the nation today.
February is American Heart Month to remind us to take care of our hearts and consider our risk factors.
The good news is they are also among the most preventable. The main risk factors for heart disease and stroke are:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Cigarette smoking
- Unhealthy diet and physical inactivity
- Overweight and obesity
These risk factors can cause changes in the heart and blood vessels over time that can result in heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes.
Controlling these risk factors can be challenging but it’s important to address them early in life to prevent the potential complications of chronic cardiovascular disease. More than 1 in 3 adults live with 1 or more type of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is the first leading cause of death and stroke the fifth. Additionally, they result in serious illness and disability, decreased quality of life, and hundreds of billions of dollars in economic loss every year.
What can you do to help control risk factors for heart disease?
Take control of your high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and quit smoking. A healthy diet, low in salt, and more physical activity can help reduce your high blood pressure and cholesterol.
If you think you are at risk for heart disease, talk to your medical provider about other improvements you can make to your lifestyle to help reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
Believe it or not, heart disease can happen at any age. Some risk factors for heart disease and stroke are preventable. Love your heart!