February is American Heart Month and for the entire month, we want you to ask yourself, what would I do without a heart? Plus, did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States?
Your heart is one of the most important organs within your body, therefore, you should do all you can to keep it healthy and strong. The heart can be affected by many illnesses and diseases, so we will look at the most common ones and what you can do to avoid developing heart disease. We will also tell you why good heart health is important.
What is a Heart Disease?
Heart disease is any cardiovascular condition that affects your heart. The term is used to describe numerous conditions. All genders, age groups, ethnicities, and even a newborn can be affected by heart disease. Some forms of heart disease can be quite mild while others tend to be severe and can significantly reduce one’s quality of life.
The Most Common
There are numerous types of heart diseases, here are the five most common ones:
- Coronary artery disease, also known as coronary heart disease. It develops when the arteries that supply blood to the heart become clogged with plaque, which is basically cholesterol.
- Congenital heart defects are heart conditions that a child is born with. There are multiple types of congenital heart defects, such as atresia and atypical heart valves.
- Myocardial infarction, which is also known as a heart attack, involves the interruption of blood flow to the heart, causing little or significant damage to the heart’s muscle.
- Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat and while this may seem like a simple condition; it should not be overlooked. Arrhythmias usually indicate a life-threatening or more severe condition.
- Heart failure involves the heart not working at a maximum capacity. It is typically the result of another cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure.
Why is Good Heart Health Important?
Without a healthy heart, you will:
- experience a reduced quality of life
- develop multiple heart complications
- develop problems with other organs
How to Prevent It
Now that you know a bit more about heart diseases, we’re sure you must be wondering how to maintain your heart health. Here are some tips:
- Consume healthy foods and drinks
- Try to include at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least four days per week
- Avoid excess weight gain
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
- Reduce stress levels
- Manage your other chronic illnesses, such as diabetes
- Manage your cholesterol
- Follow-up with your medical and dental appointments
Your heart health is extremely important and in this month of February, we encourage you to take some time and reflect on how you have been helping your heart to stay strong and healthy. We hope you have gained a better understanding of what heart disease is and the most common ones. Now, go ahead and practice those heart-healthy tips above!
Felman, A. (2021, June 11). Everything you need to know about heart disease. Medicalnewstoday.com; Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/237191#causes-and-risk-factors
CDC. (2020, April 21). Prevent Heart Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/prevention.htm
American Heart Month | NHLBI, NIH. (2022). Nih.gov. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/education/american-heart-month