Health & Wellness

Awareness Key to Beating Heart Disease


HeartDiseaseDespite continued advances in cardiovascular care, heart disease is still the No. 1 killer in the U.S. – and it doesn’t discriminate.

Former President George W. Bush’s heart disease was recently discovered during routine stress testing, and he underwent heart surgery earlier this month for an artery blockage.

Almost 600,000 people will die in the U.S. this year from heart disease.  According to the Center for Disease Control, one person dies every 33 seconds from heart disease and this will cost the Unites States almost $109 billion this year, which includes the cost of health care services, medications and lost productivity.

Typically, heart disease occurs when cholesterol and calcium build up in heart arteries and cause chest pains or leads to heart attacks. Coronary artery disease accumulates over the years and often reflects a lifetime of harmful habits.

Still, a person may be eating a healthy diet and exercising now, but they may remain at risk for heart disease.  Certainly a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise can prevent further damage, but it’s important to talk with your doctor about your risk for heart disease and to get screened.

Screening tests – such as exercise, stress testing, and electrocardiograms for early detection of coronary artery disease are recommended for people who possess risk factors.

Too often people ignore, or are not aware of, the symptoms of heart disease. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or nausea you should get to a doctor immediately.

 Risk factors for coronary disease include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Age greater than 65 years
  • A strong family history of coronary disease
  • History of smoking or obesity.

Cardiologists perform cardiac catheterizations to diagnose severe blockage and determine if a patient needs a stent, a metal scaffold that opens a blockage in a heart artery and stops a heart attack or relieves symptoms of chest pain. This procedure is routinely performed in the outpatient setting at Roper St. Francis.

For more information, call (843) 402-CARE

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