February is American Heart month and that means it's a good time to think about a disease that kills more than 600,000 Americans each year. Despite the strides taken through research and education to raise awareness of risk factors and to decrease death rates, heart disease is still the number one cause of death in America.
The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary heart disease, which often appears as a heart attack. In 2010, an estimated 785,000 Americans had a new coronary attack, and about 470,000 had a recurrent attack.1 About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, and about one every minute will die from one.1 Other conditions that affect your heart or increase your risk of death or disability include arrhythmia, heart failure, and peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Although heart disease is one of our Nation's most costly and widespread health problems, it is among the most preventable. Some of the risk factors associated with heart disease include:
For a full list of diseases and conditions along with risk factors and other health information associated with heart disease, visit the American Heart Association website
A healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons you have to fight heart disease. It is important to remember that it is the overall pattern of the choices you make that counts.Adopt a long-term, heart-healthy “food lifestyle”rather than a short-term diet and eat in moderation.
Physical activity in your daily life is an important step to preventing heart disease. You can take a few simple steps at home, at work, and at play to increase the amount of physical activity in your life.Walking or other moderate exercise for 30 minutes each day gets the body moving and the heart pumping.
Smoking interferes with blood flow and oxygen to the brain and is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. A report by The Institute of Medicine finds even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger a heart attack. Tobacco smoke can cause health problems