February Is American Heart Month

Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. Between 70% and 89% of sudden cardiac events occur in men. Almost half of all men who have heart attacks before the age of 65 die within eight years. However, women account for about 51% of the total number of deaths from heart disease.


Heart disease includes more than just coronary heart disease (“hardening” of the arteries in the heart).


Heart disease includes:


  • Angina
  • Acute coronary syndrome
  • Aortic aneurysm and dissection
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congenital heart disease (more on this topic tomorrow)
  • Heart failure
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Rheumatic heart disease


LINK http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/about.htm#other About Heart Disease


The major risk factors for heart disease are:


Conditions –

  • High cholesterol, especially if the HDL (“good” cholesterol) is low. If your blood contains more cholesterol than your body can use, your body will deposit the cholesterol in arteries (“hardening” of the arteries).
  • High blood pressure, the pressure of the blood within the arteries is too high
  • Diabetes mellitus, too much sugar in the blood (see my blog of January 23, 2009).


Behaviors –

  • Tobacco use
  • Diet
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol


Other –

  • Heredity


For a more detailed explanation of these factors see http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/risk_factors.htm.


Heart Disease – the number 1 cause of death in Americans. February is National Heart Month.

Cancer – the number 2 cause of death in Americans. February is National Cancer Prevention Month.

Stroke – the number 3 cause of death in Americans. May is National Stroke Month.


What risk factor is common to ALL the above? Smoking.


Mary Lou Bernardo, PhD, MSN


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