This February, in observance of American Heart Month, Epiphany Healthcare wants to encourage you to “defend your heart.” We want you to personally join the fight against heart disease by maintaining an active awareness of cardiovascular health and following the path to a heart-healthy life. So, how can you “defend your heart?” Here are some tips:
Start Arming Yourself with the Facts
Obtaining and maintaining awareness about heart disease helps keep you conscious of the importance of cardiovascular health. The heart disease facts below from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should get you thinking about just how serious the topic is.
- In America, heart disease, is the number one cause of death for both men and women.
- One out of every four deaths in America is from heart disease.. This comes out to about one death every 37 seconds.
- Nearly half of all Americans have some form of heart disease.
Protect Yourself by Learning Your Heart’s Risks
Understanding the magnitude of the issue is important, but understanding alone it is not enough. Identifying the risks that apply to you personally is a crucial step towards achieving optimal cardiovascular well-being. There are three types of risk factors: major risk factors, modifiable risk factors, and contributing risk factors. Check the following list. According to the American Heart Association, if any of the following applies to you, are at increased risk for heart disease.
Major Risk Factors
Major risk factors significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. These factors include age, gender, and heredity. People who are 65 and older make up the majority that die of coronary heart disease and men have a greater risk. People with parents who have or had heart disease are also more likely to develop the disease. According to the American Heart Association, races with an increased risk are African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, Native Hawaiians, and some Asian Americans. Again, the three major risk factors are:
- Increasing Age
- Male Gender
- Heredity (including race)
Modifiable Risk Factors
Modifiable risk factors can be controlled through medication and/or lifestyle change. For example, people with diabetes and that are overweight can make the lifestyle change of eating better and getting regular exercise to reduce their risk. Modifiable risk factors include:
- Tobacco smoke
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Physical inactivity
Contributing Risk Factors
Contributing risk factors are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease but the significance of their effect is undetermined. Contributing risk factors that are currently known are:
- Diet and nutrition
Shield Yourself from the Modifiable and Contributing Risks
Understanding the scope of heart disease and knowing the risk factors that pertain to you are two essential steps towards cardiovascular health, but they are useless if they don’t lead you to action. Taking appropriate action against the modifiable and contributing risk factors above can reduce your risk of heart disease and potentially even reverse damage to the heart.
Epiphany Healthcare is an advocate for heart health; it’s our business. Take this knowledge and become heart healthy by making lifestyle changes that prevent heart disease. Share this blog with friends and family on how to prevent heart disease, and possibly become a lifesaver.