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Heart Awareness - MHCC

Each year, about 610,000 people die from heart disease, equaling one in four deaths a year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. With heart disease the leading cause of death for both men and women, it's important to know the risk factors and ways to maintain a heart healthy lifestyle.

We've listed below five major factors that correlate to disease of the coronary arteries (the most common type of heart disease), which is caused by plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart.

Genetics: While you can't do really anything about the genetics you are born into, you can be proactive in alerting your physician as to which relatives have had coronary concerns in the past. This will help both of you be more aware of steps you can take to be more heart healthy in your life.

Tobacco use: No matter if you have genetics factors present or not, avoiding tobacco use (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco and vapors) is of course a step you can take to lessen your risk of developing heart disease.

Diabetes/obesity: Keeping active, watching your overall BMI and developing good nutrition habits as well can help lessen your risk overall. While type 2 diabetes itself does not lead exclusively to heart disease, the obesity many Americans face in tandem with the diagnosis can increase those risks.
Cholesterol: 90% of getting fit happens in the kitchen. Pay attention to your trans fats, cholesterol intake (not those good LDLs, we're talking the very bad for you HDLs). Eat food that have good fats, vitamins and minerals and good protein to help you stay fuller longer.

Blood pressure: Monitoring your blood pressure at home and by scheduling routine visits to your healthcare provider helps you understand and implement changes as necessary. Be educated about your heart and include your physician so you both can track progress and if necessary prescribe lifestyle changes or medications.

As always, talk to your healthcare provider about any and all concerns you have about your health especially your concerns about your heart.