Each of our organs is of equal importance and plays a key role in the way our body functions. One of the most active organs in the body is the heart. Learn more about how the heart works and the dangers of heart disease by continuing to read more details below.
How Heart Health is Defined
If you’re “heart healthy, your heart is functioning properly. The heart is defined as a muscular organ that pumps blood from the veins to other parts of the body.
The heart rests in the sternum and is part of the body’s circulatory system. The blood the heart pumps throughout the body is responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients including carbon dioxide to the lungs. With one heart, serving such an important body function, it’s important to strive for a heart healthy lifestyle.
What Can Go Wrong With My Heart?
Just like any part of the body, it’s important to take care of your heart. Heart issues can be contributed at birth, as a child, or as an adult. For children, oftentimes, their heart issues are inevitable and beyond their control. Simply put, they were born with it.
However, for adults, there are often times, contributing factors to their heart disease. For instance, smoking impacts adults heavily and is responsible for major heart issues. According to the American Heart Association, “cardiovascular disease from smoking causes an estimated 800,000 American fatalities each year.” Cigarettes prevent healthy oxygenated rich blood to flow to the heart and throughout the body.
What Is Heart Disease?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.” The most common form of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD).
CAD increases the chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Older adults are at a higher risk for heart disease. Luckily, heart disease can be avoided with a few healthy lifestyle changes and/or a medication regimen from your doctor. Learn more about the symptoms of heart diseased by continuing to read our blog post below.
How Do I Know If I Have Heart Disease?
The best way to combat heart issues is to know what to look for with heart disease. Understanding the symptoms can also help you stay ahead of the warning signs. The warning signs of heart disease include:
- Chest pain/chest tightness
- Chest pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Numbness in areas of the body
Take a look at the short video clip to learn more about CAD below.
When Should I Call My Doctor?
Your heart should be given high priority if you suspect you’re having symptoms related to heart disease. According to WebMD, “there are not always manifesting symptoms of heart disease.” Individuals can be diagnosed with heart issues and have no apparent symptoms.
In fact, researchers have seen an uptick in younger adults with no warning signs of heart disease with life-threatening symptoms including a heart attack or stroke. If you’re experiencing tightness of the chest with or without numbing of the extremities, it’s imperative to talk to your doctor right away.
How can I Prevent Heart Disease?
Eat Heart Smart
Eating smart is one of the simplest ways to protect your heart. Look for healthy foods that work against high cholesterol. Avoid processed food to also lower your risk of heart disease. Ask your doctor for more details on a heart-healthy diet that’s right for you.
A healthy heart gets the blood pumping.” You don’t have to do extreme exercises to get the blood pumping, say medical experts. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work or taking the dog for a walk are all safe ways to get the blood pumping.
Practice Healthy Habits
Avoiding or quitting smoking is one of the top healthy habits you can practice to reduce your chances of being diagnosed with heart disease. Cigarettes are known to increase plaque in the arteries. This can cause arteries to clog in the heart also and contribute to life-threatening symptoms like a heart attack or stroke.
Other healthy habits include reducing stress and avoiding the use of drugs and alcohol. Again, making the necessary lifestyle changes is one of the best ways to reduce your chances of heart disease.
A cardiologist is a specialist in areas of the heart. They’ll know what to look for to properly diagnose your unique case of potential heart disease. They understand how symptoms like family history, swelling in the legs, and high blood pressure to name a few can be associated with heart issues. In fact, a heart disease diagnosis can only come from a doctor.
Diabetes is another high-risk factor for heart disease. Patients with diabetes suffer from sugar building up in the blood. Obesity also has an impact on the heart and can contribute to future complications. Make lifestyle changes to protect your heart.
The CDC says, “you can lower your risk of heart disease by taking charge of the factors you can control.” Not everybody will have symptoms that signal heart issues, but there are lifestyle changes that can prevent your chances of heart disease.
Talk to your doctor about prevention and the early warning signs of heart disease. It’s never too late to start loving your heart. With one heart and the extreme wait list for a heart transplant, it’s imperative to take care of our hearts. For a healthy heart, make the necessary changes and talk to your doctor about your concerns.