It’s Heart Disease Awareness Month
Are You Doing Enough to Protect Yourself From Heart Disease?
As the calendar turns to February, displays featuring red hearts adorn many stores since Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. While many people may focus solely on love this month, since 1963, the American Heart Association (AHA) has deemed February American Heart Month, encouraging Americans to join the battle against heart disease. Free screenings and heart health awareness events abound — and there are plenty of reasons why you might want to check those out, starting with this:
Heart disease — which includes coronary heart disease, hypertension and stroke — is the number one cause of death in the U.S.
Here are some more sobering statistics about heart disease from the AHA:
- Coronary heart disease accounted for 363,452 deaths in the U.S. in 2016 — 13 percent of all deaths for that year.
- Approximately every 40 seconds, an American will have a heart attack.
- According to data from 2005 to 2014, the estimated annual incidence of heart attack in the U.S. was 605,000 new attacks and 200,000 recurrent attacks — with the average age for first heart attacks being 65.6 years for men and 72 years for women.
- Heart attacks and coronary heart disease were two of the 10 most expensive conditions treated by U.S. hospitals in 2013 — and according to a 2011 study, between 2015 and 2030, medical costs of coronary heart disease are expected to increase by about 100 percent.
On the local level, between 2000 and 2008, San Diego County recorded actual and age-adjusted coronary heart disease rates below the national and California rates. However, on average, nearly 4,000 residents of San Diego County die from coronary heart disease every year; the 2009 age-adjusted death rate from it was 102.5 per 100,000 residents.
Types of Heart Disease
You might think solely of heart attacks when heart disease comes to mind, but there are plenty of intermediate outcomes, starting with high blood pressure, which affects approximately one in three adults in the U.S. Other intermediaries are high blood cholesterol, angina pectoris, diabetes mellitus and stroke.
Getting these conditions under control can go a long way toward preventing a heart attack, which results from one of the following types of coronary artery disease:
- STEMI — Severe and requiring immediate attention, STEMI heart attacks occur when the coronary artery is fully blocked, preventing blood from reaching a large area of the heart.
- NSTEMI — Less dangerous than STEMI heart attacks are those that are NSTEMI, when the coronary artery is partially blocked and blood flood is severely restricted.
- Coronary artery spasm — Also called silent heart attacks or unstable angina, these spasms occur when the arteries connected to the heart contract, preventing or restricting blood flow to the heart. Having them can increase the risk of having a more severe heart attack.
Heart Disease Causes/Risk Factors
As is true for most diseases, heart disease has demographic causes, or risk factors, as well as those that are social and behavioral. The former, which you can’t do anything about, include genetics or family history, age, gender, and socioeconomic status. The risk increases two to three times if a close relative has heart disease, increases with age (82 percent of those who die from coronary heart disease are at least 65), and is higher for men as well as those of low socioeconomic status.
As for the things you can do something about, here are some of the social and behavioral risk factors:
- Tobacco use — the risk of developing coronary heart disease is two to four times higher for smokers over non-smokers
- Alcohol abuse — drinking to excess can raise blood pressure, cause heart failure and increase the risk for stroke
- Lack of physical activity — “couch potatoes” are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and diabetes
- Poor nutrition
- Poor medical care
- Stress and depression
Avoiding/Minimizing Your Chances of Heart Disease
While you can’t do anything about your personal demographics, you can and should focus on eliminating the social and behavioral risks associated with a higher incidence of heart disease. It’s also a good idea to monitor your health — especially your cholesterol level and blood pressure — because you can treat those conditions to reduce your risk of having a heart attack or other heart-related issue.
Knowing the signs of a heart attack, i.e., heart attack symptoms, is also important, to ensure you get treatment right away if your preventive efforts fall short. According to the Mayo Clinic, common heart attack symptoms include:
- Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest and arms that may spread to your neck, jaw, or back
- Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
- High blood pressure
- Cold sweat
- Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness
How GYMGUYZ® Can Help
Since 2008, GYMGUYZ has been providing in-home training for people who are committed to fitness, starting on the East Coast. The first San Diego franchise has been operating since 2018, and there are many reasons to check it out, including the three Cs:
- Convenience — What’s more convenient than personal trainers who come to your home? You’ll save time and benefit from privacy and personalized attention. Having an at home personal trainer is perfect for busy professionals, children, people with disabilities and seniors — as well as anyone who’s gym averse.
- Customization — Your fitness program will be created to focus on your specific goals, so it will be unique. Before your first session, we’ll conduct an in-depth assessment so we can customize your workouts and match you with the best certified trainer for your level and personality.
- Creativity — We accomplish our goal of ensuring you’re never bored by showing you creative ways to get in shape and stay motivated. No two routines are ever the same, to eliminate the monotony of doing the same thing over and over again.
Most importantly, GYMGUYZ delivers results, because your fitness program is created to fit your abilities and help you reach your goals. Your certified fitness trainer will keep you motivated and accountable — plus we keep records of your workouts and progress so we can reassess your fitness level every 15 weeks.
Are you really serious about learning how to reduce or eliminate your chances of having a heart attack? GYMGUYZ can design an exercise program that keeps you motivated to help you enhance your cardiac health. Ready to go? Call us at 619-832-1656 to get started.