February is American Heart Month, a time to become better educated about the dangers of heart disease
. In the spirit of spreading awareness, we've rounded up the 15 facts and statistics you need to know to understand your own risk for developing heart disease as well as how to lower it, according to the Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
1. One in four deaths in the United States is caused by heart disease each year, making it the leading cause of death among both men and women.
2. This year, an estimated 720,000 Americans will suffer from a heart attack. This is the annual average and, of that total, 205,000 won't be the sufferer's first one.
3. Of the estimated 600,000 people who will die of heart disease in the U.S. this year, 385,000 of them will be from coronary artery disease, which is the most prevalent type of heart disease.
4. Almost half (47 percent) of the deaths that occur from heart disease will happen outside of a medical facility. It's important to know all the warning signs, not just chest pain. Sudden cardiac events occur in men between 70 and 89 percent of the time.
5. The early signs of a heart attack also include trouble breathing, indigestion, heartburn and pain or tightness in the upper stomach, jaw, neck, back or arms. You may also feel dizzy or nauseous.
6. Cutting back on salt, fats (especially saturated fats) and cholesterol can help you improve your heart health. Choosing a predominantly plant-based diet with whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables is best.
7. Common risk factors for heart disease include obesity, diabetes
, lack of exercise, smoking, alcoholism, high blood pressure
, high cholesterol
, unhealthy diet and family history. Approximately 49 percent of Americans have either high blood pressure, high cholesterol or are smokers.
8. A heart arrhythmia is recognized by palpitations or fluttering in the chest.
9. The symptoms of heart failure can go undetected. They most often are fatigue, edema (swelling) in the abdomen, legs and feet or trouble breathing.
10. More than a third of American adults have high cholesterol, doubling their risk for heart disease, and less than half of them are being treated for it.
11. One in three adults also has high blood pressure, or hypertension, with less than half keeping it under control.
12. The symptoms of a stroke can come on very suddenly and progress rapidly, which is why fast action is crucial. These symptoms include confusion, trouble speaking, paralysis on one side of the face or body, weakness, poor balance, visionary impairment, headache and trouble breathing.
13. Daily moderate exercise -- just 30 minutes a day -- can reduce your risk for heart disease.
14. Long-term depression can put you at a greater risk for heart disease as well as stress. Managing both through lifestyle changes (hobbies, meditation, etc.) as well as medication and/or over-the-counter remedies like 5-HTP
, or coenzyme Q10, is a naturally occurring compound within the body's cells that acts like an antioxidant, protecting the vital organs, like the heart. Taking between 50 and 1,200 mg a day may be beneficial in supporting heart health for the longterm.
Taking charge of your heart health now can help safeguard it for years to come. Speak to your doctor and know your risk for heart disease by keeping tabs on your numbers -- weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. Getting them in the desired range can save your life. You can find the supplements mentioned in this post at eVitamins, which you can discuss with your doctor if you're interested in adding them to your daily regimen.
Stay well and we'll be back tomorrow!