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600,000 Americans expected to die from heart disease in 2015

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Heart disease can be a silent killer

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every four deaths in the US can be attributed to heart disease.

Dr. Joseph Imsais, ADC cardiologist, says that the classic symptoms of heart disease include chest pressure, shortness of breath, sweating; not so classic signs are nausea, feeling tired  and indigestion.

However, for a significant portion of the population, heart disease is a silent disease.

Get heart healthy

February is American Heart Month.

Here are some easy ways to have a heart healthy lifestyle and reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

  • Quitting smoking
    Smoking is the number one risk for heart disease.  Your doctor can help guide you through the various ways to quit smoking.
  • Eating well
    Eat a diet low in sodium and fat and high in fresh vegetables and fruit.
  • Exercising
    The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity activity for at least 150 minutes per week.
  • Losing  weight
    Being obese or even overweight can cause cardiovascular disease.
  • Avoiding alcohol
    Drinking excessively could raise your blood pressure. If you do drink, do so in moderation, and limit yourself to one or two glasses per day.

In addition to these lifestyle changes, tips Dr. Imsais recommends knowing your blood pressure, cholesterol and fasting blood sugar levels.  He also recommends taking a baby aspirin if recommended by your doctor.

Age, gender and genetics can also increase your risk of developing heart disease.  Dr. Imasis says that even those patients who are predispositioned to heart disease need to “be aware of your risk factors of heart disease and work on improving factors such as diet, exercise and weight control.”

Your physician can run tests to determine your individual risks.

  • Basic screening tests include:
  • Blood pressure
  • Fasting glucose
  • Cholesterol
  • BMI (body mass index))

He or she may also recommend an electrocardiogram (EKG).  Your primary care physician can refer you to a cardiologist if more testing or diagnosis is needed.

It’s important to speak to your doctor if you have any concerns or exhibit any signs of having heart disease.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
American Heart Association
Heart Disease Facts