Be One in a Million Do Your Part to Protect Your Heart

Be One in a Million Do Your Part to Protect Your HeartIt is unfortunate, but not surprising, that if you are reading this you know someone who has had heart disease or stroke, maybe even yourself.  Heart disease and stroke are the first and fourth leading causes of death in the United States. Heart disease is responsible for 1 of every 4 deaths in the country. For some groups, such as African Americans, the burden is even greater. As a nation, we can—and must—change these numbers. The good news is that heart disease and stroke can be prevented, and February—American Heart Month—is a great time to refresh your memory on the small but important actions you can take.

The annual update, recently released by the American Heart Association provided the following statistics on heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular conditions:
. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) takes the lives of more than 2,150 Americans each day, an average of 1 death every 40 seconds.

. Stroke is a leading cause of disability in the U.S.

. Smoking – 18% of students grades 9-12 report being current smokers. Among adults, 21% of men and 17% of women are smokers.

. Physical Activity – Only 21% of adults meet the federal guidelines for physical activity. Among 9 through 12 graders, only 28% meet the recommendations.

. Healthy Diet – Less than 1% of U.S. adults meet the definition for “Ideal Healthy Diet”; essentially no children meet the goal. Of the 5 components of a healthy diet, reducing sodium and increasing whole grains are the biggest challenges.

. Body Mass Index – The estimated prevalence of overweight and obesity in U.S. adults is 155 million, which represents 68% of this group. Among children, 32% are over-weight and obese (24 million children) and 17% are obese (13 million children).

. Cholesterol – An estimated 32 million adults have total serum cholesterol levels ≥240 mg/dL, with a prevalence of 14%.

. Hypertension – An estimated 78 million U.S. adults are hypertensive. About 82% are aware of their condition and 75% are using antihypertensive medication, but only 53% of those have their condition controlled.

. Diabetes – An estimated 20 million adults have physician-diagnosed diabetes. An additional 8 million adults have undiagnosed diabetes and about 87 million adults have prediabetes.

When considering the above statistics, it is no surprise that cardiovascular disease is very expensive—heart disease and stroke hospitalizations cost Americans more than $450 billion in health care expenses and lost productivity annually. It is not all dark and grim though, there has been some light shed at the end of the tunnel. The CDC and other sectors of the US government recently launched Million Hearts™, an initiative aimed at preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the course of a few years. The main objective of the program is to educate and empower everyone to make heart-healthy choices.

The Million Hearts™ Initiative seeks to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by the end of 2016 by:
. Empowering Americans to make healthy choices such as avoiding tobacco use and reducing the amount of sodium and trans fat they eat. These changes will reduce the number of people who need medical treatment for high blood pressure or cholesterol—and ultimately prevent heart attacks and strokes.

. Improving care for people who do need treatment by encouraging a focus on the “ABCS”—
Aspirin for people at risk, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation—
four steps to address the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and help to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Reduce Your Risk by Knowing Your ABCS:
A: Aspirin
Talk to your health care provider and team to see if taking an aspirin each day is right for you.

B: Blood Pressure Control
High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke. One in three American adults has high blood pressure—that’s about 70 million people. Unfortunately, less than half of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control. Work with your health care team to find out if you have high blood pressure. If you do, take steps to reduce it:
• Get active by exercising for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
• Eat a heart-healthy diet that is high in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in sodium, saturated and trans fats, and cholesterol.
• Follow your health care provider’s instructions when it comes to taking medicines or measuring your blood pressure at home.

C: Cholesterol Management
High cholesterol affects 1 in 3 American adults. Getting a simple blood test is the only way you can know if have high cholesterol. Your doctor can suggest steps you can take to prevent high cholesterol or to reduce your levels if they are high.

S: Smoking Cessation
Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you’re a smoker, quit as soon as possible, and if you don’t smoke, don’t start. Get help from 1-800-QUIT-NOW or

Unfortunately, heart disease and stroke affects all of our lives, which is why it is important that we all play an active role in decreasing our own risks. Prevention starts with you. Protect yourself and your loved ones from heart disease and stroke by understanding the risks and making heart-healthy choices. As the old saying goes, be the change you want to see in the world. Let’s all do out part in educating others about preventing heart disease!

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.

Dr. Scala has been selected a Castle Connolly 2015 “Top Doctor” by a physician-led team of researchers in the field of Cardiovascular Disease.

South Cape Business Center
3208 Chiquita Blvd. S, Suite 110
Cape Coral, FL 33914
(239) 574-8463

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