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Heart Disease

Heart Disease

heart-disease-visual-guide-s2-heart-attackCoronary artery disese (heart disease) causes roughly 1.2 to 1.4 million heart attacks each year, and more than 4 of 10 of those suffering from a heart attack will die. It is even more startling that 335,000 people with heart attacks will die in an emergency department or before ever reaching the hospital. According to the American Heart Association, over 7 million Americans have suffered a heart attack in their lifetime.

Some simple techniques provide your doctor with the first clues to how well your heart functions. During your visit, your doctor will listen to your heart, take your heart rate, and check your blood pressure. Your doctor may even take an electrical tracing of your heart rhythm. Coronary artery disease is atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries (hardening of the arteries). Atherosclerosis occurs when the arteries become clogged and narrowed, restricting blood flow to the heart. Without adequate blood, the heart becomes starved of oxygen and vital nutrients  it needs to work properly. Before your teen years, fat starts to deposit in the blood vessel walls. As you get older, the fat builds up. This causes injury to your blood vessel walls. In an attempt to heal itself, the cells release chemicals  that make the walls sticky.

What Are the Risk Factors for Heart Disease?

There are several risk factors for heart disease; some are controllable, others are not. 

dr todd leslie heart disease 6Uncontrollable risk factors include:
    
* Male sex
    
* Older age
    
* Family history of heart disease
    
* Post-menopausal
    
* Race (African Americans, American Indians, and Mexican Americans are more likely to have heart disease than Caucasians) Still, there are many risk factors that can be controlled. By making changes in your lifestyle, you can actually reduce your risk for heart disease. 

 

Risk-Factors-For-Heart-Disease-Smoking-700x395Controllable risk factors include:

* Smoking 

* High LDL, or "bad" cholesterol and low HDL, or "good" cholesterol.
    
* Uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure).
    
* Physical inactivity.
    
* Obesity (more than 20% over one's ideal body weight).
    
* Uncontrolled diabetes.
    
* High C-reactive protein.
    
* Uncontrolled stress and anger.

It is important to see your doctor to be evaluated for heart disease starting at the age of 20 and yearly thereafter. Annual check-ups can be 
a very rewarding and cost-effective alternative to this deadly disease.

Where you live can also make you more adverse to heart problems.
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