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The American Heart Association (AHA) wants every U.S. citizen to have a longer, healthier, and happier life. That is why every February they host the American Heart Month to increase awareness about heart health and promote a healthier lifestyle.

The American Heart Month is a federally created event, and it is a way to remind citizens how important it is to focus on their heart and encourage themselves and their loved ones to prevent heart disease.

Heart Disease Is the Leading Cause of Death in Danbury and the Rest of the Country

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States? It affects men and women, and it is one of the most preventable causes of death. That is why the AHA hosts this annual event to teach Americans how to make heart-healthy choices in life, review their health history, and know if they have the risk factors for heart disease.

The first American Heart Month was hosted February 1964 and proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Since then, Congress has issued a joint resolution requesting presidents to issue a proclamation designating February as heart health month.

National Wear Red Day is on February 3rd of each year, and it is designated as the time to remind yourself and family members about making better choices for your health. While the day is celebrated in the United States, heart disease claims more than 17.3 million lives annually, and the number is expected to increase to 23.6 million as soon as 2030.

How Big of a Problem Is Heart Disease?

  • The rate of death for cardiovascular disease is 220.8 per 100,000 Americans.
  • On average, a person dies every 40 seconds from heart disease.
  • Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds because of heart disease.
  • 85.7 million or 34 percent of adults in the country have hypertension.
  • 28.5 million or approximately 11.9 percent of adults in the country have a serum cholesterol level of more than 240.
  • One out of six males and one out of seven women are smokers, which increases the risk of heart disease.

How Do You Know if You Have a Healthy Heart?

Each year, you should receive a physical from your family care physician, which will include a check up on your heart. Your doctor does simple tests to determine if your heart is healthy, including checking your heart rate, listening to your heart, and reviewing your blood pressure readings.

Sometimes, your physician does a blood test to check cholesterol and other cardio indicators.

Your Heart Rate Can Tell You Plenty

Your pulse tells you what your heart rate and heart rhythm are, and each pulse matches with your heart beats that are pumping blood through your body and organs.

Your pulse determines how strong your blood flow is, but also how much effort your heart must put out just to keep the blood circulating. Naturally, the more energy your heart has to put forth, the more it works and the easier it tires.

Signs of a Healthy Heart

Naturally, you should leave the determination of a healthy heart to your physician, but while you are waiting for your next check-up, here are a few signs that you have a healthy ticker:

  • You have a reasonable resting heart rate. Resting heart rates are the best way to determine how healthy your heart is. If you have a tracker, you can test your resting rates at home. Rest for 10 to 15 minutes, such as lying down. Then, see what the tracker rates your heart rate. Adults should have a resting heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute, while athletes may have one that is 40 to 60 beats per minute.
  • Your blood pressure is on track too. Your blood pressure levels will indicate the health of your heart. The lower your blood pressure, the less exertion your heart experiences.
  • You maintain an active lifestyle. The more active you are, the more likely your heart is healthy. You should stay active for longer durations of time if your physician says you are fit enough to do so, which will keep your heart in excellent condition.
  • You maintain little to no stress in your everyday life. Stress can be a heart killer. The more stressed you are, the higher your heart rate and the more exertion you put on your body.
  • Your blood glucose levels are within normal range. You should check your blood sugar and ensure your glucose levels are within normal range. Exercise may also help improve blood sugar and metabolism.
  • You are not overweight. When you are overweight, your heart must work harder to get the blood pumping. If your physician says that you are overweight, get tips for losing that weight and see if it improves your heart rate too.

Can You Improve Your Heart Health?

There are plenty of ways to improve your heart’s health and keep it healthy long-term. Just some of the ways you can do this include:

  • Taking a 10-minute walk every day. If you are not the type to exercise, start small with your workouts and gradually build your way up to something more vigorous. Just start with a 10-minute walk every day at a brisk pace. It adds more exercise, gets in a few more steps, and helps boost your metabolism, which eventually will give you more energy to extend your walking distance.
  • Start lifting objects more. Do not lift something too heavy, but just raise a two-pound weight a few times per day to help tone your arm muscles. According to Harvard University, this can help you move on to heavier weights at a gym while improving your fitness levels – thus, improving your heart health.
  • Eat an extra serving of fruit or vegetables every day. You can never have too many healthy foods in your daily diet. Eating more fruits and vegetables every day will help you improve your heart, but also the brain and digestive systems too.
  • Do not skip out on breakfast. Did you know that breakfast is scientifically proven to be the most important meal you eat in a day? Start your day with whole grains and fruit for energy, but also to get your entire body fueled for the day – including your heart.
  • Eat nuts every day. Nuts, in small quantities, have heart-healthy fats and brain-boosting power.
  • Reduce stress when and where you can. While no one can be in complete control of stress, there are ways to reduce the stress you encounter each day. For example, exercise to help release endorphins and stay happier. You can also learn relaxation techniques, such as yoga or deep breathing.
  • Wash your hands often. Keeping yourself healthy and avoiding infections and pneumonia are essential, because these illnesses take their toll on your heart too.

What About Medications?

If your physician has prescribed a medication to improve heart health or to help treat a heart condition, use the medication as directed. In most cases, these medicines are safe, and you should not experience any harmful side effects.

There are some harmful medications out there that are used to treat cardiovascular disease and conditions. In fact, some very common medicines prescribed for heart conditions have been the center of drug lawsuits due to their side effects.

Some of these medications include:

  • Prednisone and Cortisone – These medications are used to treat inflammation, but when taken improperly they could lead to heart disease and other heart-related complications. For example, prednisone and cortisone, when taken for too long, may cause high blood pressure, fluid retention, potassium level loss, and further complicate diabetes.
  • Coumadin and Warfarin – These blood thinners are used to prevent stroke and heart attack, but can put you at high-risk for life-threatening bleeding.
  • Cholesterol Medications – If you have high cholesterol, your physician may prescribe a medication to manage it or lower your levels. However, you may increase your risk of stroke and other side effects if you take some of these medications. For example, a statin drug has side effects that include liver toxicity, muscle inflammation, eye problems, and more.
  • Diuretics – If you are diagnosed with hypertension, you may be prescribed a diuretic to help increase your kidney mechanics and decrease fluid buildup. Cardiac patients often rely on these medications, but sometimes they are prematurely prescribed to patients that could use other methods for managing their hypertension.

Note that this is not a substitute for medical advice. You are responsible for speaking with your physician about the medications you are prescribed for heart health – and carefully going over the risks of those medications. Your physician knows your medical history and may decide that a prescription medication’s benefits outweigh the risks for you.

When Physician Error or Defective Drugs Cause Heart Complications, Who Do You Turn To?

Sometimes prescription medications or physician errors can further complicate heart conditions – and may lead to an unexpected death. If you or a loved one was injured because of a pharmaceutical error or physician’s negligence, you need a malpractice attorney to review your case.

Contact Berkowitz and Hanna, LLC to schedule your no-obligation consultation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.