The term “heart disease” refers to many different heart conditions including diseased vessels, structural problems and blood clots. When the heart can no longer pump effectively the body’s organs do not receive an adequate blood supply. When this happens for an extended period of time it can result in organ failure and even death.
Who is affected
Heart disease affects more than 5 million Americans, killing about 610,000 each year. That is one in every four deaths nationwide. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. The most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease (CHD). Nearly 380,000 people die each year from CHD. Heart attacks are also common. In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds.
Heart and vascular diseases are very serious. No one should have to wait weeks to see a cardiac specialist. Therefore, the cardiology and vascular department at OakBend Medical Center offers patients the opportunity to be evaluated quickly when every beat counts. Call 281-341-3000 for more information or to schedule an appointment with a Houston cardiac specialist.
Is heart disease hereditary?
A history of heart disease in the family plays a large role in developing heart problems. Family health history can be a useful tool in determining health risks and preventing heart disease. If an immediate male family member (parent or sibling) has had a heart attack or stroke before 45 or 55 for women, the risk to also have one is increased greatly. A family history of early coronary heart disease of a father or brother diagnosed before 55 or a mother or sister diagnosed before the age of 65 is a major risk factor for CHD.
Even with a history of early heart disease, not everyone at risk will develop CHD or other heart problems. Controlling other risk factors can lower the risk and sometimes even prevent heart disease. On the other hand, the likeliness of developing heart disease increases even more when family history of heart disease is combined with one or more of the following potential risk factors:
Risk factors for heart disease
• Smoking – The American Heart Association points out that Smoking cigarettes is the most preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of CHD and when combined with other factors the risk is substantial.
• Weight – Being overweight or obese puts people at a higher risk for heart disease.
• Excessive alcohol consumption – Moderate drinking, one per day for women or two for men, has shown to help prevent heart disease in some individuals. However, heavy and/or binge drinking can be very harmful to the heart and cause serious problems such as heart disease, liver disease, and cancer among others.
• Uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure) – High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for heart disease. Blood pressure can be controlled with diet, exercise, medications and weight management.
• Uncontrolled diabetes – When diabetes is not well controlled it can lead to serious heart problems including heart attacks and death. Like high blood pressure, diabetes can be controlled with diet, exercise, medications and weight management.
• High LDL cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol – High LDL “bad” cholesterol, or hypercholesterolemia, puts individuals at a high risk for heart disease. Additionally, low, “good” HDL cholesterol can also increase the risk of heart disease. A healthy diet that is low in cholesterol will reduce the risk as well as regular exercise. Medications can also be prescribed when diet and exercise are not enough to control cholesterol.
• Lack of exercise – Working out regularly can lower the risk of CHD, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, blood clots and more. Make sure to always consult with a doctor before starting a new exercise plan.
What to do if you are at risk of heart disease
The Houston cardiology and vascular department at OakBend Medical center is dedicated to providing exceptional cardiovascular care. The board-certified physicians are experts in cardiology, vascular surgery, cardiovascular surgery and vascular medicine. This depth of expertise allows them to offer the full spectrum of cardiovascular services, ranging from heart disease prevention to the latest interventions and devices.
If you have heart disease or at risk of heart disease please call 281-341-3000 to schedule a consultation with a Houston board-certified physician today.