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Here's To Your Heart!

Posted by on in Health & Lifestyle
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reddresspinFebruary is American Heart Awareness Month.

Cardiovascular Health Trivia: Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women? 

Seven hundred and fifteen thousand people have a heart attack and 600,000 die from heart disease each year in United States each year.  Cardiovascular disease accounts for one out of every four deaths in the United States.  Women are sometimes under-diagnosed with heart diseases, which prompted the red dress symbol to increase awareness of heart disease among women.  Hypertension is often not diagnosed early enough in young people, and hypertension is among the major risk factors for heart disease.

Q: Coronary Artery Disease is the most common cause of cardiovascular disease.  What are the five major symptoms of a heart attack?

A:

    1. Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back
    2. Feeling weak, lightheaded or faint
    3. Chest pain or discomfort
    4. Pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder
    5. Shortness of breath

Q: What is the biggest risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease?

A:  SMOKING

Q: What are other risk factors for getting cardiovascular disease?

A:  There are several contributing factors that increase risk of cardiovascular disease.   These include controllable and uncontrollable things:

    • Male sex
    • Older age
    • Family history of heart disease
    • Post-menopausal status
    • Kidney disease
    • Race: African Americans, American Indians and Mexican Americans are at increased risk.  Also, CDC statistics show that African Americans are 30% more likely to die from heart disease and 40% more likely to have high blood pressure than white Americans.
    • Smoking
    • High Cholesterol (High LDL or bad cholesterol)
    • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
    • Physical inactivity
    • Obesity
    • Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus
    • High levels of stress and anger

Q: What measures can I take to reduce my risk of cardiovascular disease? 

A: These are some of the recommendations to decrease heart disease or complications of heart disease:

    • Eat a healthy diet.  Adults need at least 5 servings of fruits/vegetables per day.
    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Exercise Regularly.  Did you know that the Metropolitan SDA Church has a regular exercise program that meets on Monday nights, Tuesday nights and Thursday nights in the Metropolitan Activity Center gymnasium?  Each session starts at 7 pm.  For more information, call 301-853-2224.
    • Monitor your blood pressure.
    • Quit smoking.  Smoking increases cholesterol deposits (plaque) in your blood vessels.
    • Quit (or at least limit) alcoholic consumption.  Drinking increases your blood pressure.
    • Monitor your cholesterol.
    • Manage diabetes mellitus if you have it.
    • Take your medications prescribed for high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and hypercholesterolemia. 
    • Manage stress.

References

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.  3 John 1:2

Disclaimer:  Medicine is an ever-changing discipline.  Every effort is made to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information.  You must discuss with your doctor how this information pertains to or affects you.  Do not make changes to your medications or treatment plan without first discussing with your doctor

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Dr. Sabrina Martyr Ward is currently a Hematology-Oncology Fellow at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.   Sabrina knows she is blessed by God’s constant presence in her life and views health ministry as her God-given talent.  She is humbled to be a vessel used by The Great Physician.

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