HealthStar Physicians Premier Medical reminds you it’s always a good time to take care of your heart!

Heart Health Month History

Coronary Heart Disease is the number one killer of Americans. That’s why HealthStar Physicians Premier Medical wants you to get to get to know your heart a little better during National Heart Health Month!

This February marks the 57rd anniversary of American Heart Month which was established by President Lyndon B. Johnson in December of 1963.  President Johnson understood the urgency of heart health and announced almost six decades ago that, “the people of the United States (should) give heed to the nationwide problem of the heart and blood-vessel diseases, and support the programs required to bring about its solution.”

Today, annual deaths from heart disease have declined, but heart disease continues to impact public health immensely. In fact, more than 30 million American adults carry a diagnosis of heart disease, and 1 in every 4 deaths can be attributed to heart disease each year.

Types of Heart Disease

There are various types of cardiovascular disease; some of the more common ones include:

  • Coronary artery and vascular disease
  • Heart rhythm disorders (also known as arrhythmias)
  • Structural heart disease
  • Heart failure

Coronary heart disease is the most prevalent type of heart disease and develops when arteries cannot deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart.

What are the symptoms of cardiac disease and how is it diagnosed?

Signs of cardiac disease can be characterized by a multitude of symptoms. Signs that you may be experiencing heart disease include tightness or pressure in the chest (also known as “angina”); shortness of breath; pain or weakness extremities/arms and legs feeling cold and/or numb; neck or jaw pain, or pain in the throat, back, or upper abdomen.

Laboratory and blood tests can be used to determine your risk for heart disease.  In addition, batteries of non-invasive and invasive tests may be used to determine the type and progression of heart disease. Most tests are outpatient in nature and can be performed by your doctor or a cardiac specialist.

Who is at risk for heart disease?

Key factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.  At least one of these issues affects about half of all Americans. Other serious medical conditions can increase the risk for heart disease.  You should be especially concerned with heart health if you are diabetic, obese, have a poor diet, are not physically active, or struggle with alcohol abuse.

Heart Health for Men and Women

While heart disease is the leading cause of death un the U.S. for both men and women, it’s important to know that heart disease can affect men and women differently.

One in three women are diagnosed with heart disease each year and are much more likely to have atypical symptoms like indigestion, or back and shoulder pain, which is less common in men.

Some specific risk factors tend to affect women more often than men, and some risk factors for heart disease affect only women. These include high testosterone levels prior to menopause, increasing hypertension during menopause, autoimmune diseases (which are relatively more common in women than men), stress and depression, and lack of recognition of risk factors which can be a risk factor for cardiac disease in and of itself.

COVID-19 and heart disease

It has been suggested that many who have experienced the COVID-19 virus are subject to heart damage, even if they didn’t have underlying heart disease before diagnosis with the virus. It’s important to let your physician know if you’ve had COVID-19 so that he or she can be aware of potential future complications.

Complications, such as myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, could contribute to heart failure later in life. Another concern is those who don’t have COVID-19 but may avoid seeking medical help with heart problems because they are fearful of being exposed to the virus in the healthcare setting. Please remember that it is always safer to seek the help and advice of a skilled physician than to try to ride out illnesses– including expected COVID-19– at home.

Partnering with your medical provider to manage heart disease and its effects

There’s so much you can do to protect your health and your heart!

In most cases, heart disease can be prevented with the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, which includes not smoking; maintaining a healthy weight; keeping blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol within normal range; regular exercise; and routine medical care.

Make certain to speak with your medical provider about any symptoms of heart disease you may be exhibiting, your family history of cardiovascular disease, and any risk factors you may have identified that could possibly affect you.

We’re here for you.

A medical home for routine healthcare is important, perhaps especially for those who may be contending with cardiac health issues. HealthStar Physicians Premier Medical offers both well visits and preventative care, along with urgent care, and care for chronic diseases as you need them.  It is our goal to be here for your family when you need us. Our Osteopathic Doctors in Newport, TN take exceptional care of patients and seek to create long-lasting relationships that benefit those patients over a lifetime.