Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States, causing about 647,000 deaths annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Heart disease is also an extremely expensive disease—costing the United States about $207 billion annually in health care, medications and lost productivity.
What is heart disease?
Heart disease is a term used to refer to several different types of heart conditions. Out of all the different conditions, coronary artery disease—caused by plaque buildup in the walls of the heart’s arteries—is the most common.
What are the symptoms of heart disease?
The symptoms of heart disease can vary, and some people may not even know they have a heart condition until they have a heart attack. Common signs and symptoms of heart disease include shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, heart palpitations, weakness and fatigue.
If you experience any of these symptoms, or if they become more severe or frequent, contact your doctor.
Is heart disease preventable?
In many cases, heart disease can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle and properly managing health conditions. American Heart Month, organized by the American Heart Association (AHA), is designed to raise awareness about heart disease and how people can prevent it. Here are tips that may help prevent heart disease:
• Refrain from smoking.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Limit your sodium intake.
• Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet.
• Exercise regularly.
• Manage your stress.
• Limit your alcohol intake.
If you are concerned about your risk of developing heart disease or would like to find out more information about the condition, visit the AHA’s website and contact your primary care physician.