Five Facts About Heart Disease You Need to Know

Heart Disease

Heart disease affects over half of the United States population. It comes in several different forms, such as arrhythmia, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, and atherosclerosis. These can involve a number of issues like an irregular heart rhythm, plaque buildup, high blood pressure, chest pain, the hardening of arteries, or weaker heart muscles. All of these conditions and symptoms can potentially cause heart attacks, heart failure, permanent heart damage, as well as death. That's why it's important to prioritize your heart health as soon as possible. When you live a healthy lifestyle and partake in regular physical activity from a younger age, you lower the risk of heart disease. But there are risk factors that you also need to evaluate.

Dr. Arash Bereliani at the Beverly Hills Institute for Cardiology and Preventive Medicine assesses your risk factors and provides personalized treatment to prevent heart disease. With advanced testing and screening tools, you'll learn how to optimize your heart health and take preventive measures with the help of a renowned cardiologist. Whether you have an underlying health condition, high blood pressure, or have already been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, Dr. Bereliani can assist you with achieving your best heart health.

So, what is there to know about heart disease? How does cardiovascular disease affect morbidity? And how do risk factors play into all of this? Keep reading for some of the most crucial heart disease facts you should know.

It is the leading cause of death for Americans.

Heart disease claims a life every 37 seconds. In fact, it's the leading cause of death for males, females, and almost every racial or ethnic group in the United States. According to the CDC, one in four deaths in the United States can be attributed to heart disease. It's also a major cause of disability. This is because heart attacks can lead to damage or result in death. Coronary heart disease, for example, causes plaque buildup in your arteries. This results in reduced blood flow, which may increase the risk of heart attack. Meanwhile, arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm. Without proper disease control, arrhythmia can eventually result in either a heart attack or cardiac arrest. And both of these may be debilitating. Both a heart attack and cardiac arrest can cause irreparable damage to your muscles, form scar tissue, or increase the risk of death.

This is why it's crucial to see a cardiologist like Dr. Bereliani about your heart health. You have to ensure that you don't have an underlying health condition. Just on the first statistic alone, you can see that cardiovascular disease is a serious illness. You need to start thinking about living a healthy lifestyle to reduce your risk of heart disease. No one should have to suffer due to this medical condition.

Your family history matters.family history matters

You need to examine your risk factors and your family history, especially at a younger age. Serious health problems don't just come from poor lifestyle choices. In fact, you can still be at risk of heart disease even if you've never experienced any symptoms. Sure, having a conversation with your family about health problems isn't fun. But it's important in ensuring that you aren't at high risk. Ask about whether anyone in your family has any underlying health conditions, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Then, discuss this with your cardiologist to see if health problems may be a possibility in your future.

Contact Dr. Bereliani to talk about how your family history affects you. Get an annual health screening, do a blood pressure test, and start discussing your options. It's important that you start living a heart-healthy lifestyle if your genetic history includes heart disease. This is because family history of heart disease doubles your risk of developing a health condition yourself. Have your doctor monitor your heart rate, run a blood test, and check to see if you're at a healthy weight. Proper dietary guidelines and smaller portion size might just be your key to preventing your risk of heart disease even with your family history.

It can affect females a lot differently than males.

The risk of heart disease is similar in males and females, but they may experience different symptoms. In females, heart disease and the signs of a heart attack tend to present themselves differently. It can happen through fatigue, nausea, and discomfort between the shoulder blades. Females also have trouble with deep breathing due to shortness of breath. And some can experience heart attacks without any chest pain or chest discomfort whatsoever. That's why heart attacks are often referred to as "silent killers" in some circumstances. By the time you pick up on the symptoms, it might be too late.

In the under-50 age group, females are actually two times more likely to die from a heart attack than men. So, if you're female, it's important to learn the signs of a heart attack and check for any underlying health conditions. Don't wait for severe symptoms to develop. Take action immediately and seek out an emergency health care provider.

The top risk factors include diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

high blood pressure

When you're diagnosed with any of these health conditions, you're more likely to increase your risk of heart disease. High blood pressure is commonly referred to as hypertension. Blood pressure has to do with the force of circulating blood flow on the walls of your arteries. It's important to manage your blood pressure to prevent higher risk of a heart attack. One in three adults in the U.S. has hypertension, and it can be a huge indicator of an underlying health condition. Seek the advice of a health care provider if you want to stop hypertension. Meanwhile, having diabetes means you're at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. In fact, you are two to four times more likely to develop it if you already have a medical condition like diabetes.

Making heart-healthy lifestyle changes is important, especially in older adults. If you want a better quality of life as you age, you'll have to consider a proper prevention plan. Apart from diabetes, high cholesterol is also a huge risk factor. Having high cholesterol can happen as a result of a poor diet lacking in heart-healthy foods. Too much bad cholesterol and not enough good cholesterol results in plaque. And plaque tends to build up in the walls of your arteries. Plaque buildup is the hardening of your arteries, referred to as atherosclerosis. The plaque deposits can even burst, causing blood clots in your heart. If you suffer from any of these health conditions, it's important that you adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle. While medications can be effective, you'll need to put in the effort in other areas of your life as well.

Most heart diseases are preventable with a healthy lifestyle.

healthy lifestyle

Now, here's some good news. Heart disease can sometimes be preventable when you live a heart-healthy lifestyle. This includes a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity. When you invest in your overall health, you typically decrease your risk of heart disease even if you may still have an underlying health condition. In fact, playing sports and getting in some aerobic exercise can actually decrease your risk of cardiac death. This is because it helps you lower your blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight. When it comes to exercise, start incorporating physical activity that's good for your heart health like walking, swimming, weight training, or cycling. Habitual exercises help prevent chronic medical conditions and improve your body's ability to function at its best. Don't wait until it's too late to start making lifestyle changes that can be beneficial to you. There's plenty of available information out there to ensure you are doing what's best for your body.

And don't forget that a healthy diet is a significant factor in your heart health. You need to have well-balanced meals that are high in dietary fiber and low in sodium. A high sodium intake often leads to hypertension. Make sure that when you're eating fat, you're choosing healthy fats like olive oil and that you're only having it in moderation. Choose lean sources of protein, such as tuna, poultry, and legumes. Limit the amount of sugar you eat because these extra calories can lead to obesity. Sugar is often found in processed foods and has been found to increase the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Adults should prioritize healthy eating when making lifestyle changes.

If you haven't made a visit to your doctor in a while, you may have an underlying health condition. Keep in mind that people of any age can develop heart-related diseases. Even if it isn't in your family history or you never experience the symptoms, you can still be at risk of developing heart disease. Your lifestyle greatly affects your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, but so can genetics. Make sure to seek out Dr. Bereliani here at the Beverly Hills Institute for Cardiology and Preventive Medicine. Optimize your heart health with a personalized plan from a world-renowned cardiologist.

Author
Arash Bereliani, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.C. Beverly Hills Institute For Cardiology & Preventive Medicine

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