Heart Disease Can Strike Anyone

  • Published
  • By Gayle Kenyon
  • 97th Medical Group health educator
When we think of heart disease, we tend to consider it a "man's disease." But it is in fact the leading cause of death for both men and women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 52.6% of the total heart disease deaths in the United States are women. 

The most recent statistics show that 454,000 women die annually from heart disease. Men are not far behind with 410,000 annual deaths. The CDC estimates that in 2009, "about every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, and about one every minute will die from one." 

Some of the primary risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, tobacco use, diabetes, physical inactivity and poor nutrition. The good news is these risk factors can easily be reduced or completely eliminated. For example, studies show that if total cholesterol levels are decreased by 10%, the chances of developing heart disease can be reduced by as much as 30%. 

Regardless of your age and current risk level, you can improve your heart health and enjoy a better quality of life with simple lifestyle choices. CDC recommendations include:
· tobacco use cessation,
· 30 minutes physical activity most days,
· heart-healthy diet,
· weight maintenance/reduction,
· and evaluation and treatment of depression. 

The Health and Wellness Center offers a variety of programs that will help you follow these recommendations. Join us March 1 for the 1st Annual Steppin' Into Spring Challenge. Sign-up by Feb. 27 and receive a free pedometer. We have a monthly Heart Smart class which is designed to help you make heart-healthy nutritional and physical activity choices. Tobacco use continues to be a primary concern. We have tobacco cessation tools to help you in your journey of becoming tobacco free. 

For more information on these, or other HAWC programs, please call 481-5013 or sign-up on the People Helping People website (www.php-ids.net).