The High Price of Heart Disease

Small changes to your diet to include more greens and vegetables is an efficient way of taking care of your heart.

This February SCF will help spread awareness on the high price of heart disease while celebrating American Heart Month. Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. For people of American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, and Pacific Islander descent, heart disease is second only to cancer. Fortunately, heart disease can be prevented by making healthy choices like exercising regularly, eating healthy, and managing health conditions appropriately. Prevention through education is critical in the fight against heart disease. High-risk factors like smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and alcohol abuse are preventable and controllable. However, with an increase in sedentary lifestyle across the U.S. and an increase in the consumption of processed foods, obesity has contributed to an increase in heart disease diagnosis and related deaths.

The CDC states that maintaining routine check-ups with your provider while sustaining a consistent healthy weight can help reduce your risk of heart disease. A major lifestyle change is not always needed; minor lifestyle changes like taking the stairs when possible, reducing salt intake at meal times, and eliminating fast food from your diet are beneficial ways to begin the fight against heart disease.

Early detection is key and can help to save your life or the life of loved ones. A heart attack happens when the blood supply to the heart is cut off. Cells in the heart muscle that do not receive enough oxygen-carrying blood begin to die. The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart. About 47 percent of sudden cardiac deaths occur outside a hospital, suggesting that many people are not aware or did not act on early warning signs. Know the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack so you can act fast.

Some of the major warning signs include, chest pain or discomfort in the areas of the upper body, shortness of breath, nausea, feeling lightheaded, or cold sweats. It is important to recognize the signs of a heart attack and to act immediately by calling 911. A person’s chance of surviving a heart attack increases the sooner emergency treatment is administered.

Annually, about one of every six U.S. health care dollars is spent on cardiovascular disease, it is the costliest health condition in America when you factor in lost productivity. Research can help find new ways to prevent and treat heart disease and reduce its economic toll on our nation. As a result of research funded by the National Institutes of Health, the death rate for heart disease in the U.S. has decreased by more than 60 percent since 1940, and 70 percent for strokes in the same time period.

Being informed and taking preventive steps is the best way to be proactive in the fight against heart disease. Keep up and get involved this February with SCF Heart Health Events by following SCF’s Facebook page.

To find out other ways to raise awareness against heart health or donate to heart health research this holiday season visit,

by Jake Johnson

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