Cardiovascular Disease – Cause, Risk and Prevention

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mohamed_hassan / Pixabay

Cardiovascular disease in women is a huge problem in large countries such as in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.  According to statistics, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of American men and women every year. In fact, about 2,300 of Americans die every day from some form of cardiovascular disease. Those who are with the following diagnosis can actually be included in what we call cardiovascular disease. These are high blood pressure or hypertension, coronary heart disease which includes people with angina, or people who have had a heart attack or myocardial infarction, people with stroke and people with heart failure. It’s estimated about 81 million adult Americans have one or more of this diagnosis.  That is about 1 out of 3 Americans.

Surprisingly though, women make up just over 50% of all the Americans with cardiovascular disease. So that’s more than 42million women with any one of that diagnosis. In fact, that’s about 1 out of every 3 women have some form of cardiovascular disease

From the years 1996 to 2006, there was a 26% decrease in the death rate from cardiovascular disease due to improved treatment. Cardiovascular disease treatment continues to improve over the years and more and more people are becoming aware of this disease, wherein they’ve modified their risk factor of developing these disease. Unfortunately, because of the epidemic of obesity, and diabetes, the death rate is still higher than we’d like to see it.

A study showed that in 2010, it is estimated that 785,000 Americans will have their first heart attack.  470,000 will have a second or third heart attack. 185,000 will have a heart attack and not even know it.  The figures are overwhelming and alarming for us to know.

There is a difference between a man having a cardiovascular disease and a woman with it. One of the main differences is that it tends to show up later in life on women than it does in men. The average age for a man to have his first heart attack is about 65 years of age, and for women, it’s at 70 years of age. Another main difference between men and women is that the symptoms are sometimes different but without a doubt, the most common presentation with someone with a heart attack is having severe discomfort in the chest which is usually a burning or a tightness that sometimes moves into the arm into the jaw, usually associated with sweating with shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting. But in women, often times their symptoms are more subtle, the discomfort may be just in the neck or the shoulder, it could be in the belly or the abdomen. It may just be nausea or may have fatigue and may come in with shortness of breath. So the symptoms tend to be a little harder to diagnose in women than in men.

There are 5 major classic risk factors for coronary disease. One of which is high blood pressure, the second is diabetes, third is high cholesterol, specifically the bad cholesterol, which is LDL. The fourth major risk factor for the coronary disease is cigarette smoking and the final major risk factor is genetics, particularly in a sibling or a parent.

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Meditations / Pixabay

Have a healthy or therapeutic lifestyle to lower the risk of having Cardiovascular Disease. First and foremost is obvious, do not smoke. Second, maintain a healthy weight. The third would be exercising at least 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week. And lastly, eat a heart-healthy diet which includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains and high fiber, eating an oily fish at least two times a week, limiting your saturated fat, in your cholesterol, minimize drinks and foods that are high in sugar, choosing and preparing food with little or no salt, and if you drink alcohol please do so in moderation. Do check your blood pressure 4 times in the next 2 weeks and take note of the readings and take that list to your primary physician to screen you for diabetes and high cholesterol level. Information is the key to a healthy lifestyle.

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