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February is Heart Awareness Month

heart monthFebruary is American Heart Awareness Month. It’s dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and increasing knowledge about prevention. Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States? The good news is that heart disease can be prevented, and the first step is education.

What is heart disease?
Heart disease is a term for any type of disorder that affects the heart. It may also be referred to as cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease.

A disease in the heart can manifest in four major ways:

  1. Heart attack
  2. Stroke
  3. Heart failure
  4. Arrhythmia

Causes of heart disease correspond to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, family history and smoking.

To prevent or modify your risk factors:

  1. Take medication for high-blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes
  2. Manage weight and exercise
  3. Avoid smoking
  4. Eat healthy foods

What does this mean for you?
To take preventative measures make sure you see your primary care provider every year to check your blood pressure and cholesterol. Be honest with your primary care provider about your smoking history. He or she can help you quit smoking.  Check for any family history with heart disease. Knowledge is the key to prevention.

Patient videos
Brian Nagler, Mercy Medical Center patient, talks about his experience with heart disease and how Dr. Ringwala and the Mercy staff helped him get on the right path to heart health.

Tim Crowe, St. Elizabeth Hospital patient, talks about his experience with heart disease and how Dr. Nowak and the St. E’s staff helped him get on the right path to heart health.

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