You probably know someone suffering from heart disease, stroke or another cardiovascular disease. Most of us do. Heart disease is a lifelong condition that requires a lifestyle adjustment to help prevent other conditions from developing.  As we celebrate American Heart Health Month, it is important to know how the leading cause of death in Americans affects us. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year—that’s one in every four deaths. 1 While these are just some of the heart-related conditions that can develop from heart disease, there are many more that can impact quality of life for you or your loved ones. It is important to know the risk factors, warning signs and prevention techniques of heart disease. For more information on how to improve your heart health, read our article “How Fitness Can Improve Your Heart Health At Any Age.”  

The biggest risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking; but diabetes, obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use are also contributing factors. While heart disease can develop into many conditions, the following are some of the most common:

Heart Attack

About 735,000 Americans per year have a heart attack, which is when the heart can’t get the oxygen it needs because of a lack of blood flow. Knowing the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack might save your life. Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack; however, upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck jaw or upper stomach; shortness of breath; and nausea, lightheadedness or cold sweats are also warning signs. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately. 

Stroke

There are two main types of strokes -- ischemic, which occur when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a portion of the brain is blocked; and hemorrhagic, which occur when an artery in the brain leaks blood or breaks open and the pressure from the leaked blood damages the brain cells. When brain cells die from lack of oxygen or pressure, long-term damage in other parts of the body that these brain cells control can occur. The main symptoms of stroke are sudden weakness; paralysis or numbness of the face, arms or legs; trouble speaking or understanding speech; and trouble seeing. If you think you or someone you know is having a stroke, call 9-1-1 right away so medical personnel can begin life-saving treatment immediately.  2

Congestive Heart Failure

This condition occurs when the heart does not pump blood as well as it should and the body’s need for blood and oxygen isn’t being met. While there is no cure for heart failure, there are medications that can manage the symptoms and many people can lead a fulfilling life while getting treated.

While these are just some of the heart-related conditions that can develop from heart disease, there are many more that can impact quality of life for you or your loved ones. It is important to know the risk factors, warning signs and prevention techniques of heart disease. If we stay informed, we can keep our hearts healthy.

If you have questions about your healthcare care needs, call 1.866.KINDRED to speak with one of our Registered Nurses about what types are services are most appropriate for your unique situation. 

This article is informational only and does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for medical or professional care.