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Heart Disease Doesn’t Discriminate

by UPMC Susquehanna - February 14, 2019

Almost half of Americans have heart disease or high blood pressure and heart disease is the #1 killer in the United States. With startling statistics like that, it’s important to understand the risks and symptoms of heart disease. In today’s video feature, Dr. Chris Domarew of UPMC Soldiers + Sailors Internal Medicine talks about heart disease, the risks, its symptoms and how we can keep our heart healthy. The following article highlights a few of his key points:

About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Heart disease causes more deaths in Americans of both genders and all racial and ethnic groups than any other disease. Unfortunately, many Americans falsely believe that the highest rates of heart disease affect only older, White men. The truth is that heart disease takes a greater toll on certain racial and ethnic groups. And more women than men die of heart disease each year, although more men have heart attacks. In addition, women, Black Americans and Hispanic Americans who are at a high risk for heart disease are less likely to receive lifesaving treatments than Caucasian males.

One of the leading events from heart disease is a heart attack. Know the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack so that you can act fast if you or someone you know might be having a heart attack, can save lives. Heart attacks have several major warning signs and symptoms:
– Chest pain or discomfort.
– Upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach.
– Shortness of breath.
– Nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats.
Women may experience less severe symptoms. If you are at risk for heart disease and something doesn’t feel right, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Certain factors can an increase one’s risk of experience a heart event, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of Americans (47%) have at least one of these three risk factors.

Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including:
– Diabetes
– Overweight and obesity
– Poor diet
– Physical inactivity
– Excessive alcohol use

The best way to combat heart disease is to prevent it. The best methods of prevention are:
– Eating a balanced, nutritious diet and being mindful of your sodium intake. Avoid processed foods and canned foods as they can contain large amounts of sodium.
– Get physically active or stay active. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, but something as simple as walking 30 minutes a day can help.
– If you smoke, quit today. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. This also includes vaping and e-cigarette use.
– Know your numbers and understand what they mean by watching your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference.

Doctors tend to test most of these numbers at annual check-ups, it’s important to keep those numbers within a healthy range. Meet with your doctor regularly and get your necessary screenings. As mentioned, your doctor will know which tests and screenings as well as which numbers are appropriate for you based on your health and age. They are here to help you stay healthy, and live long full lives.

Credits:

Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore, Sara Vogt
Writing: UPMC Susquehanna
Anchor: Rhonda Pearson
Correspondent: Sara Vogt

Produced by Vogt Media
Home Page Sponsors: UPMC Susquehanna

 
 
 
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