February is National Heart Month. Each year organizations like the National Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dedicate the month to sharing resources and tools. It’s an opportunity to help people learn more about cardiac diseases, including controllable risk factors.
That’s important information for people to know because heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in this country. In America, 1 in 4 deaths is due to cardiac related conditions.
Heart Disease by the Numbers
What else do we know about heart disease? Whether it’s a heart attack or coronary heart disease, the statistics from the CDC and the American Heart Association are alarming:
- An estimated 655,000 Americans die from heart disease each year translating to 13% of all deaths
- One American loses their life every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease
- Cardiovascular diseases kill more people each year than cancer and lower respiratory disease combined
- Of people in the US, 805,000 experience a heart attack every year
- Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease
- Of those who have a heart attack, 25% have suffered one before
- In 2016, someone in this country died of a stroke every 3 minutes and 35 seconds
While some of the risk factors that contribute to cardiovascular diseases are related to genetics, most aren’t. That means lifestyle choices can play a role in determining whether you do—or don’t—develop a heart-related health problem.
Controllable Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Here’s an overview of the risk factors that contribute to heart disease:
- Smoking: Though smoking is most commonly associated with lung disease and lung cancer, it is also closely tied to heart disease. Secondhand smoke is equally as deadly as firsthand smoke.
- Sedentary lifestyle: The dangers of sitting too much have become more apparent. Researchers consider a sedentary life to be as risky to heart health and overall well-being as smoking.
- Diet: What you eat and don’t eat can also factor into your odds of experiencing heart disease. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy grains lowers your risk. By contrast, consuming processed foods, trans fats, and sugary treats puts your health at risk.
- Overweight: Most people know that maintaining a healthy weight is important for good health. This is especially true when it comes to your heart. As the obesity epidemic in this country continues to grow, so too do the number of people living with heart problems. Even children and teens are developing high blood pressure related to being overweight.
- Diabetes: People who have diabetes are also at increased risk for heart disease. For some, the two are closely linked. Inactivity and a poor diet contribute to both diabetes and cardiac-related illnesses.
- High blood pressure: This is a risk factor that can usually be controlled through diet and exercise. In some instances, taking medication may be required, at least temporarily.
- Cholesterol: While high cholesterol may be genetic for some, in many cases it is lifestyle choices that have the greatest impact. Nutrition and physical activity are two preventative steps that can help lower your bad cholesterol.
Daily Life at Sunrise
At Sunrise Senior Living communities, residents enjoy a lifestyle designed to nurture the body, mind, and spirit. This includes a dining program and fitness activities that promote healthy aging. As concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic persist, we’ve found creative ways to keep residents safely engaged. We invite you to call the Sunrise community near you to schedule a virtual tour and learn more today!