Health Hub: Heart Disease
Take heart if you're seeing red this month.
February is American Heart Month, an officially designated time for shining a spotlight on heart disease and promoting heart-healthy strategies within our community. In commemoration of this important event, thousands of people sported their finest crimson attire on February 3rd, which the American Heart Association and Go Red for Women have designated as National Wear Red Day®.
Cardiologist Hector Lozano, MD, FACC, sees this as an opportune occasion to raise awareness among the general public about a health concern that many people may not realize is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.
“Heart disease and related events including heart attack and stroke account for over 630,000 deaths per year in this country, which is well above the number of deaths caused by cancer or accidents. Yet in many cases, cardiovascular disease can be prevented through appropriate lifestyle choices and proper management of medical conditions like hypertension and high cholesterol,” he says.
Lifestyle Changes to Help Your Heart
The most obvious and important lifestyle change you can make to protect yourself from heart disease and stroke is to quit smoking and/or curtail your exposure to second-hand smoke within your household. If a family member smokes, introduce them to a smoking cessation program or ask your physician to recommend one.
Next, eat a heart-healthy diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat foods while skimping on sweets, red meat and sugar-heavy beverages. Have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly, get plenty of exercise and maintain a healthy weight. If you’re diabetic, do what it takes to keep your blood sugar under control. Finally, try to cut down on your daily stress and limit alcohol consumption.
The following factors can increase your risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke:
- Diabetes or prediabetes
- High blood pressure
- Being overweight
- Age 55 or older
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Consuming unhealthy foods
- Having a family history of heart disease
Unavoidable Risk Factors
Be aware of risk factors that may make you more susceptible to developing heart disease, and discuss these with your doctor. For example, ethnicity and heredity are important considerations when it comes to your heart health. African Americans, Native American Indians and some Asian Americans are more at risk than Caucasians, as are those with a family history of heart disease and related illnesses.
Dr. Hector Lozano, MD, FACC
is board certified in cardiovascular disease, echocardiography and nuclear medicine. He is a leading provider of cardiac care in Central Florida, with offices in Winter Garden, Altamonte Springs and Orlando. His special interests include preventive care, peripheral vascular disease, resistant hypertension and cardiac imaging.
Florida Hospital Medical Group is the Orlando area’s most comprehensive multi-specialty medical group practice. With nearly 600 board-certified physicians, our group provides patients with a broad range of medical and surgical services across more than 40 medical specialties.