February is American Heart Month and is dedicated to bringing awareness to heart disease and other heart ailments, such as strokes and heart attacks. As February comes to an end, it’s important to realize that heart disease affects Americans year round. Heart disease causes 1 in 4 deaths every year, and is the number one cause of death in the United States for both men and women. The OGIO community wants to raise awareness this month – and every month – to make a difference in the heart of the community.
What is Heart Disease?
There are a variety of conditions that fall under the term heart disease. This includes blood vessel diseases, heart defects, heart valve problems, and arrhythmias. Heart disease includes numerous problems, many of which are related to plaque buildup in arteries. Plaque buildup narrows the arteries, making blood flow difficult. If a clot forms and stops the blood flow, this can result in a stroke or heart attack.
Other Types of Heart Disease
1. Heart valve problems:
Stenosis: Heart valve doesn’t open enough, affecting blood flow
Regurgitation: Heart valve doesn’t close correctly and blood leaks through
Mitral valve prolapse: Valve leaflets bulge back into the upper chamber of the heart.
2. Heart failure:
The heart doesn’t pump blood as it should and the body’s need for oxygen and blood isn’t being fulfilled.
An abnormal rhythm of the heart that can affect how efficiently the heart works.
Bradycardia: The heart beats less than 60 beats per minute; too slow
Tachycardia: The heart beats more than 100 beats per minute; too fast
Prevent Heart Disease
Avoid heart problems by adding healthy habits to your everyday life. Follow some of these heart healthy habits to prevent heart disease and be the cure.
1. Exercise for 30 minutes daily
2. Stay away from tobacco products – especially smoking
3. Follow a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and limit certain fats – avoid trans fat altogether
4. Maintain a healthy weight
5. Get plenty of sleep – seven to nine hours of quality sleep is ideal for most adults
6. Make regular visits to the doctor for health screenings
Maintaining a healthy heart lifestyle is important to upholding your health for years to come. Heart disease can be prevented when people make healthy choices and by bringing awareness to heart disease, we can positively affect our communities and ourselves. Reach out in your community and start encouraging friends and family to make changes toward a healthier heart.