Know and Reduce the Risks of Heart Disease
By: Teneasha Washington
Coronary heart disease, also known as heart disease, is the leading cause of death among both women and men. Heart disease accounts for more than 17.3 million deaths each year. By 2030, it is estimated that more than 23.6 million people will develop the disease. It costs the United States about $207 billion every year. During the month of February, health care providers and local and national heart disease organizations focus on educating the community about the effects of heart disease.
Source: Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are a number of risk factors that can increase an individual’s risk of developing heart disease, including:
- High blood pressure
- High LDL cholesterol
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity
- Overweight and obesity
About 50 percent of individuals effected by heart disease have at least one of the following: high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and/or engage in smoking.
Disparities in Heart Disease
There are a number of racial and ethnic disparities seen among individuals with heart disease. Differences can also be seen among genders. According to CDC, about 8.5 percent of white men, 7.9 percent of African American men, and 6.3 percent of Mexican American men have heart disease. Oftentimes, heart disease can cause death without any obvious warnings. In fact, about 50 percent of men who die from heart disease report not having symptoms.
African American women and white women have the highest heart disease death rate. According to CDC, 5.8 percent of white women, 7.6 percent of African American women, and 5.6 percent of Mexican American women have heart disease. Over 60 percent of women who died from heart disease had no previous symptoms.
Know Your Risk and Reduce It
There are a number of ways to be screened for risk factors associated with heart disease, such as having regular blood pressure checkups as higher blood pressure can lead to heart disease. Also, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider about being tested for diabetes. Prolonged diabetes can increase your risks of heart disease. If you currently smoke, quitting can reduce your risk of developing heart disease and a number of other poor health conditions. You should also get your cholesterol and triglycerides tested when visiting your health care provider. It is also important to practice healthy food choices and proper exercise.