Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. It claims the lives of more people than all forms of cancer combined. In the US, one person every 90 seconds dies from heart disease.
Each and every one of us has been either directly or indirectly affected by heart disease. Whether it is a personal medical condition or has claimed the life of a family member, heart disease is a chronic condition that is too close for comfort. Men and women are affected but can present with very different symptoms. The classic “chest pressure” is more commonly seen in men. Women, however, may have vague, nonspecific symptoms such as abdominal pain or neck pain.
Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to help prevent progression of disease. If you have experienced a heart attack and have lived to tell the story, then you understand the importance of acting fast. The longer you wait to get treatment with chest pain, the more likely you will have significant damage to the heart itself which leads to more issues, if you are lucky to survive the event.
Even better than early diagnosis is prevention. Heart disease is a disease with modifiable risk factors. Risk factors that can be modified include tobacco use, exercise level and diet. So even if heart disease runs in your family, you can lower your risk of having an event if you lead a healthy lifestyle.
Don’t let this Valentine’s Day give you heartache. Stop smoking! Exercise regularly and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Talk to your doctor today to discuss your risk factors as well as things you can do to diagnose and treat heart disease.