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Preventing Heart Disease

February is the month dedicated to love. You may show your significant other that you care, but have you shown your heart the same devotion lately?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and between 25 and 40 percent of all deaths in the U.S. each year are caused by some form of heart disease. The cost of heart disease isn’t measured just in lives, though. According to the American Heart Association, in 2009, all cardiovascular diseases together cost the United States more than $475 billion in health care services, medications and lost productivity.

When people talk about heart disease (also known as cardiovascular disease), they’re referring to a broad term that describes any number of ailments that affect the heart and blood vessels. Coronary artery disease is the most common heart disease. This is the build up of plaque in the arteries, which supply blood to the heart. Heart diseases also include angina, heart failure, arrhythmias and heart defects.

Though symptoms vary depending on the type of heart disease, we most often hear about heart attacks, which are a result of cardiovascular disease. Symptoms for a heart attack include chest discomfort (such as an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or pain), discomfort in other areas of the upper body, shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, or experiencing nausea or light headedness.

How is it that we can love our spouses and kids unconditionally, but pay such little attention to that vital organ that keeps our blood running and our bodies functioning? Unfortunately, the older we get, the more likely we are to develop heart disease. Having a family history with such a condition also puts us at greater risk. But a poor diet, lack of exercise, poor hygiene and high levels of stress—all things we can control—also contribute to heart disease. Smokers are more likely to have heart attacks than non-smokers. Having high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are also contributing factors. And carrying around excessive weight generally worsens all other risk factors.

Heart disease is much easier to treat when it is detected early, so it is vital to integrate healthy choices into your lifestyle now—and show your heart some love—before it’s too late, especially if you have a family history of heart disease.

So what can you do? To begin with, commit to changing unhealthy habits by eating healthier and working out regularly. Shed unnecessary weight and quit smoking today. Maintain overall general health with regular visits to your doctor and chiropractor. Prevention and treatment of high blood pressure and high cholesterol are essential. Work on preventing diabetes, and if you already have diabetes, then keep it under control.

Even though it works so hard to keep us alive, it can be easy to forget about the demands we place on our heart. This February, make an effort to give attention where attention is due. Learn more about heart disease and what you can do to prevent it when you attend this month’s workshop at The Specific Chiropractic Center on Wednesday, February 10th at 6:30 pm. Please call 1-888-722-4467 to reserve your space at your nearest Specific Chiropractic Center.

Resources:

About Heart Disease. CDC.gov. (November 16, 2009) Retrieved February 4, 2010 from http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/about.htm

Heart Disease. MayoClinic.com. (January 28, 2009) Retrieved February 4, 2010 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-disease/DS01120