Thanks to significant medical advancements, life expectancy in the United States has increased significantly in past decades. Nevertheless, chronic medical conditions are raising the chances of pre-mature death. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of both men and women in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), one in every three deaths is related to heart disease and stroke, equal to 2,200 deaths per day.
Cardiovascular disease occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart. A build-up of plaque and fatty deposits containing cholesterol blocks the artery walls, constricting the path for blood to flow to the heart. Over time, the build up weakens the heart muscle, increasing the chance of heart failure.
Fortunately, cardiovascular disease is preventable. This summer, take the necessary steps to defend your heart by maintaining a healthy lifestyle through healthy dieting, exercising and visiting your doctor for heart screenings.
Prevent heart complications by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Avoid foods with high levels of saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.
Take advantage of the summer sun and engage in physical activity regularly. Outdoor walking, running, and other forms of aerobic activity are great ways to de-stress, circulate blood flow, and shed some pounds.
If you believe you are at risk for heart disease and experience symptoms of lightheadedness, nausea, and shortness of breath schedule an appointment with your physician. Your doctor will check your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose in order to determine if you are at risk and in the need of heart screenings.
Cardiovascular disease is preventable, yet remains the number one killer in our country. This summer, be proactive about acquiring a healthy lifestyle and protecting your heart.
Daniel Shiba, M.D. is a family medicine physician on the staff of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital and a member of Advocate Medical Group. He attended medical school at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Medicine and completed his residency at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. He is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Medical Association. Dr. Shiba has a practice in Algonquin and can be reached at 1.800.3ADVOCATE.