Thursday, April 28, 2011

Heart Disease

“Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart.”
Yesterday I talked about cancer, the #2 killer in America with 559,888 deaths in 2006. The first place award goes to Heart Disease (more formerly known as Cardiovascular Disease or CVD) with 831,272 deaths in 2006 (34.3 percent of all deaths or 1 of every 2.9 deaths). What exactly is Heart Disease?
  • Coronary heart disease: caused by atherosclerosis (ath"er-o-skleh-RO'sis), the narrowing of the coronary arteries due to fatty build ups. Partial blockage results in chest pain and total blockage cuts off blood to the heart muscle and results in a heart attack.
  • Stroke: blood to a portion of the brain is cut off by a blood clot or a burst blood vessel.
  • Heart Failure: occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to support other organs. The heart may still be beating but with insufficient strength.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recognizes the following risk factors for Heart Disease:
* high cholesterol
* high blood pressure - It's called the "silent killer" and greatly increases the likelihood of heart attack or stroke. 90–95% of the time the cause of high blood pressure isn't known but it is often treatable.
* smoking
* being overweight
* lack of exercise (people who are sedentary are almost twice as likely to suffer heart attacks as are people who exercise regularly.)
* African American women have the highest risk for death from heart disease
* Male pattern baldness, hair in the ear canals, and creased earlobes are associated with a higher risk for heart disease in white males.

On the positive side:

* People who eat beans at least four times a week have a lower level of heart disease (19% lower) than people who eat beans less than once a week.

Bottom Line

Heart attack and strokes can strike suddenly with no warning. They either kill outright or leave a person confused as to what just happened. Many don't recognize the symptoms. See:  (Stroke) (Heart Attack)

Heart failure is often a gradual process and does have symptoms which include—
  • Shortness of breath during daily activities.
  • Having trouble breathing when lying down.
  • Weight gain with swelling in the legs, ankles, or lower back.
  • General fatigue and weakness.
See (Edema)
and (Congestive Heart Failure)

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