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Heart Awareness Month


With February on the calendar it’s time to reevaluate your health and assess the risk of having a heart disease. During the whole month, the heart becomes the symbol of a common struggle for a better understanding and management of heart diseases.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), including the very well known stroke, and high blood pressure, is the number 1 killer for both women and men in the United States, and throughout the entire world. It’s not ethical to judge life and health in terms of money, but the truth is CDV costs the United States a staggering $300 billion each year. It’s one of the biggest burdens of the medical apparatus. The cost includes medication, services and lost productivity for employees facing problems with their cardiovascular system.

We all immediately associate CVD with the heart, but the bigger picture also involves blood vessels that communicate throughout the body (arteries, capillaries, and veins). There is a large array of causes for cardiovascular diseases, with the most common being atherosclerosis and hypertension. The risk to suffer from a cardiovascular disease is strictly linked with age.


There are some interesting numbers you should know about cardiovascular disease. For example, men are almost twice more likely than women to die from preventable CVD. Incidence and death rates due to heart disease are also in a close connection with the wealth level. High income countries, which afforded constant improvement of their medical systems, mostly by introducing extensive screenings and check-ups from earlier ages, registered a decline in cardiovascular mortality. On the other hand, countries with economical problems or aspiring to be called emergent witnessed an increase of the total number of cases.

Roughly 30% of all global deaths are attributed to cardiovascular diseases. Race and ethnicity also influence the risk of suffering from CVD. Nearly half of the African American population has some form of CVD. And African Americans are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to have high blood pressure and to develop the condition earlier in life.

There are many factors that could trigger an increased risk of developing a cardiovascular disease. It’s hard to tell which is the most dangerous. There is a very complex equation governing the direct link between an external factor and a medical condition. You have to go beyond age, diet, genetically predisposition and other environment factors in order to point the finger at a sole action.

Approximately 10% of cardiovascular disease cases are attributed to smoking tobacco, although there are some controversies regarding how important is the age at which the habit is initiated. Other factors are insufficient physical activity, excessive alcohol consumption and an unhealthy diet. Studies are trying to extend the list of factors and have a better grip on how they work. Air pollution, a constant in highly industrialized countries that don’t have strict environment laws is also making the list.

There are many ways to reduce your risk of developing a heart disease. It all starts with awareness. If you are aware that CVD are a potential threat for your health, if not know, at least somewhere in the future, you will want to know more. Knowledge backed by a pertinent medical opinion is your best chance of understanding what you are fighting.

Early defensive is an excellent strategy and it involves a balanced diet, regular exercise and a more organic lifestyle, free from stress and too much emotional charge. But there are things beyond our control and knowing that can be indeed scary. The best way to know if you have a morphologic or physiological condition that favors CVD installment is to get yourself checked by a medic. This is mandatory if you plan to embrace professional sports or go beyond a certain age.

Cardiovascular diseases are so common, even celebrities are affected by them. CNN interviewer Larry King suffered a heart attack and underwent quintuple bypass surgery in 1987. A seasoned smoker, King quit the day of his heart attack and has since gotten his risk factors under control. He is now enjoying his 82 year of life. Another iconic TV host, David Letterman, experienced a similar situation. At just 52, Letterman underwent emergency quintuple bypass surgery, performed by the same team who operated Larry, 13 years ago. The surgeons were invited at his return on the small screens and received public praises for their hard work.

  1. Thank you for bring attention to this very imnotrapt health topic. Wear Red every Friday in February to bring attention to others.I’m proud of your committments. Every step makes a difference. Keep steppping out.

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