Heart disease number one cause of death; an incident every 25 seconds

 

By Dr. JOYCE SCOTT

February is American Heart Month. About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event. Learn more about coronary heart disease, which often appears as a heart attack and is the most common heart disease in the U.S.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of disability. The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary heart disease, which often appears as a heart attack. In 2009, an estimated 785,000 Americans will have a new coronary attack, and about 470,000 will have a recurrent attack. About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, and about one every minute will die from one.

Friday, February 6 was National Wear Red Day–a day when Americans nationwide will take women’s health to heart by wearing red to show their support for women’s heart disease awareness.

Every woman needs to know about heart disease.

The Heart Truth is that heart disease is the #1 killer of American women.  In fact, one in four women dies of heart disease.  But heart disease can also lead to disability and a significantly decreased quality of life. 

Unfortunately, most women don’t know The Heart Truth.  Although significant progress has been made increasing awareness among women—from 34 percent in 2000 to 57 percent in 2006—most women fail to make the connection between risk factors and their personal risk of developing heart disease.  The Heart Truth is that women don’t take their risk of heart disease seriously—or personally.  Women often fail to make the connection between risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and their own chance of developing heart disease.

The chance of developing coronary heart disease can be reduced by taking steps to prevent and control factors that put people at greater risk.  A healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons you have to fight heart disease. Many people make it harder than it is. It is important to remember that it is the overall pattern of the choices you make that counts. As you make daily food choices, base your eating pattern on these recommendations:

Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat. 

Select fat-free, 1% fat, and low-fat dairy products. 

Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet. 

Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol. Aim to eat less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day. 

Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars. 

Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. Aim to eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day (or less than 1,500 mg if you are in a higher risk group for high blood pressure). 

If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman and two drinks per day if you’re a man. 

Keep an eye on your portion sizes.  

Dr. Joyce Scott, D.O., is board certified in family practice and geriatric medicine.