Matters of the Heart – The Nevada Independent

With American Heart Month approaching, it’s important to shed a light on cardiovascular health and heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for men, women and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). USA

Every 34 seconds, a person dies from cardiovascular disease in the United States. In addition, heart disease can affect anyone at any age and lead to a heart attack or stroke. But what are some of the causes and symptoms of heart disease?

Causes, risk factors

The heart is a powerful, complex organ. There are several factors that allow him to hit and function every day. When heart disease develops, there is something that blocks the proper flow of blood to the heart, preventing the heart from pumping normally.

Heart disease has been linked to high cholesterol, stress and high blood pressure.

Cholesterol is needed by the body to make hormones, plays a role in building healthy cells, and aids in digestion. Although cholesterol is made naturally by the body and is essential, too much cholesterol can prevent blood flow to the heart and the rest of the body. Based on diet or family history, a person may produce more than average cholesterol, which can build up in the body’s blood vessels.

Elevated cholesterol levels can form a substance “plaque” that builds up in the walls of blood vessels and can reduce blood flow to organs such as the heart. When there is a blockage caused by plaque, the heart cannot get blood, which can contribute to a heart condition called coronary artery disease and lead to cardiac arrest. High cholesterol has also been linked to life-changing complications such as stroke, kidney disease, and cognitive decline (due to lack of blood flow to the brain).

In addition, stress can increase the risk of heart disease. When people are anxious or stressed, they tend to be more sedentary, less active, and don’t get the blood flow needed to be pumped to the heart. Since the heart needs some boost, exercise is one way to keep the heart healthy. When people are stressed, they are also likely not eating a healthy diet, which can increase their risk of high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.

Some choose to consume alcohol or smoke to cope with the daily stresses of life. Again, this can affect overall heart health, as smoking can increase blood pressure throughout the day. Prolonged high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease. Stress can also cause high blood pressure, and prolonged periods of high blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular disease because blood vessels are not designed to endure high speed or high pressure.

Heart disease can also be linked to a person’s family history. A person is more likely to develop certain diseases, including heart disease, if there is a family history. Cholesterol, for example, can be inherited and is known as familial dyslipidemia. In this case, be sure to inform a doctor. Sharing this information can help identify heart disease early or reduce your risk of getting it.

Warning signs, silent symptoms and diminishing risk

There can be some warning signs of heart disease, such as chest, neck, or shoulder pain, but not everyone experiences symptoms. Some conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, may not be associated with other symptoms and are often referred to as “silent killers.” Therefore, it is important to have an annual check-up with a healthcare provider who can listen to your heart, gain insight into your personal and family medical history, and assess risk factors for a heart attack.

The good news about heart disease is that there are ways to reduce your risk of developing it, including diet, exercise, and yearly checkups.

To keep your heart in tip-top shape, incorporate healthy fruits and leafy greens into your diet, along with clean proteins, fiber, and whole grains. I also recommend “tasting the rainbow”: eating a bunch of brightly colored berries, beans, and vegetables as they’re packed with vitamins and antioxidants that can help prevent inflammation. For exercise, develop a regular fitness routine or go for short walks. Movement is key.

Finally, you should continue to invest in maintaining a healthy heart as it is vital to the body’s overall functioning. It enables us to carry out everyday tasks and experience joy in life and is undoubtedly one of the most important core parts of who we are. How we take care of it and ourselves is important.

dr Bayo Curry-Winchell, MD, MS is a board-certified general practitioner practicing in Reno, where she serves as medical director of community engagement and health equity for Carbon Health and medical director for Saint Mary’s Medical Group and founder of Beyond Clinical Walls.