World Heart Day: Preventing Cardiovascular Disease
In honor of World Heart Day on September 29th, we’re turning our focus to heart health this month. The World Heart Federation is a global community that believes every human being should have access to the information, care and treatment they need to keep their heart healthy, and World Heart Day is their biggest awareness-raising platform for cardiovascular disease. Let’s take a minute to learn about heart health, what the risk factors are, and what you can do to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular Disease — What is it, and what are the risks?
The human heart is only about the size of your first, but it’s the strongest muscle in your body. It’s truly an amazing organ…every day, it beats around 100,000 times and pumps up to 7,500 liters of blood! But according to the World Heart Federation, cardiovascular diseases are the world’s leading cause of death — claiming 18.6 million lives each year. “CVD” is a class of diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels, and conditions include heart attack, stroke, artery diseases, arrhythmia and many others. Maybe most shocking of all, about 1 in 3 of CVD deaths occur prematurely in people under 70 years of age!
You might be asking, what are the symptoms? Well, they can vary based on what condition you have. But they include:
- Chest pain, tightness, pressure or discomfort
- Pain, weakness or numbness in your legs and/or arms
- Shortness of breath
- Easily tiring during exercise or physical activity
- Swelling of the hands, legs, ankles or feet
- Palpitations or fluttering in your chest
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
- And others, depending on your condition
And what are the risk factors? Again, there are many, and they are varied. Some of them can’t be modified, like your family history. But others can be through lifestyle interventions and treatment. The risk factors that you have control over include:
- Unhealthy diet
- Physical inactivity
- Tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol
These behaviors can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and other harmful risks.
So, how can you prevent CVD? There are lots of things you can do, across many areas of your lifestyle. First, eating a healthy diet is crucial to maintaining a healthy heart and circulation system. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies and do your best to avoid processed foods. You should also exercise regularly to keep your heart strong. Remember, it’s a muscle! Try to exercise five days a week and make it a regular part of your life. Choose the stairs over the elevator, walk more when you can, and generally stay active!
These will help you maintain a healthy body weight. But you should also avoid alcohol and tobacco. There is no safe level of these substances and cutting them out of your lifestyle will drastically improve your overall health.
If you are currently taking any medication prescribed by your doctor for heart health, continue doing so! You should also know the warning signs, and stay on top of your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels if they are abnormal.
What Dopson Family Medical Center provides
Here at Dopson Family Medical Center, we play a crucial role in your heart health as well! Our comprehensive cardiac diagnostic facility, led by cardiologist Dr. Suresh Patel, is equipped with the latest technologies available in Northeast Florida for the early detection of heart disease. Early detection and prevention can be lifesaving! Our cutting-edge CT equipment has capabilities to diagnose heart issues for coronary CTA and calcium scoring. These tests show whether the heart arteries are clogged.
Our Cardiology Services Include:
- Holter monitoring
- Treadmill and chemical stress testing
- Event monitors
- Coronary calcium score
- Cholesterol management
- And more!
Maintaining your heart health should be a year-round endeavor, but with World Heart Day this month, it’s a great time to refresh yourself on the risk factors, preventions, and how Dopson plays a role in your heart health.
Clinic hours are Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. Schedule your next heart health screening with Dr. Patel at (904) 259-7815. Our address is 159 North 3rd Street, Macclenny, FL 32062. Please check-in at window “G” when you get here!