About Heart Disease & Women
Content by: NCES, Inc.
Even with significant efforts to educate the U.S. public on the causes of heart disease, one in four deaths each year is due to heart disease. There are several risk factors responsible for the high rates of heart disease in the United States. Some can be controlled, and some are simply genetic...
Know the risks for developing heart disease! According to the CDC, about half of all Americans have at least one of the following three key, controllable risk factors: High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, and Smoking.
High blood pressure. It's often called the “silent killer” due to the fact that patients usually do not experience symptoms. Most patients are generally unaware of their blood pressure until they go to see a medical professional and have it checked. High blood pressure occurs when the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries is higher than normal. When left untreated, this can then lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and cause damage to the major organs.
High cholesterol. When we have too much of the unhealthy cholesterol in our blood stream, it starts to build up on the walls of our arteries. This then causes narrowing of the arteries and restricts the blood flow to the heart and other major organs. It is usually asymptomatic and only detected through a lipid profile blood test.
Smoking. Smoking causes irreparable damage to the heart and blood vessels, which can then lead to atherosclerosis and heart attacks. Nicotine also leads to elevated blood pressure, and carbon monoxide from the cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen your blood is able to carry.
NOTE: It is important to keep in mind that risk factors can be symptoms of many other underlying chronic diseases, also. Treatment may require an interdisciplinary approach in order to treat our patients with best practice and maintain our scope of practice.