Why does heart health matter?
Your arteries pump oxygen to your heart where it is turned into blood. From here, your heart ensures that all of your organs work by distributing blood throughout your body. Therefore, heart disease can cause or lead to issues with your organ functioning. Heart disease also leads to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Heart disease is caused by a build-up of plaque in your arteries. Plaque build-up restricts the flow of oxygen from your arteries to your heart so there is less blood being generated to the rest of your body. As a result, your body rations the blood it has. Your body naturally sends the majority of the rationed blood to your brain and heart in order to preserve human functioning. As a result, your kidneys and liver are usually the first organs affected as the result of heart disease.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is a general term that may be the result of any of the following conditions. Please speak with your primary care provider for more information about specific conditions. s
- Heart arrhythmias
- Congenital heart defects (heart defects you are born with)
- Heart infection
- Vascular Heart Disease
- Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
- Congestive Heart Failure
What are the signs of poor heart health?
Heart disease may go silently undetected for years or seem attributable to other causes. Signs of heart disease includes rapid weight gain, arrhythmias, difficulty concentrating, lack of appetite and nausea, chest pain, chest tightness, irregular or rapid heartbeat, inability to exercise, persistent cough or wheezing, increased urination, abdominal swelling, shortness of breath, pain, numbness, coldness in arms or legs, body swelling, fainting, dizziness and fatigue.
Who is at risk of having heart issues?
Anyone diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes or unhealthy blood cholesterol are at risk for developing heart issues. Patients who smoke, have a family history of heart disease, consume a diet high in fat and cholesterol or who have been diagnosed as obese have a higher risk of developing heart issues.
Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States amongst all ethnic groups and is THE leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. It should be understood that the risks of developing heart disease increase as the patient ages.
How are diet and exercise good for the heart?
- Introduce an active lifestyle: The American Heart Association recommends exercising for at least 15 minutes a day. Examples of low-impact exercise include walking, yoga, biking and swimming.
- Abstain from smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption: Alcohol consumption puts added strain on your kidneys and liver and smoking use can lead to clogged arteries.
- Monitor your diet: Fill your plate with fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, beans and whole grains. Consume sugar, sodium and fatty-rich foods sparingly. Eating healthy will control symptoms of hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure. It will also help to reduce inflammation commonly caused by heart health.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Keeping a healthy weight will lower your risk for or severity of high blood pressure and diabetes. Studies have shown that being overweight increases your risk for heart failure and disease because obesity increases your heart enzyme levels.
- Coordinate with your healthcare provider for regular check-ups: People with heart disease are at a higher risk of developing diabetes. Monitoring and controlling symptoms of diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol will improve your heart health for years to come.
What resources are available within my community?
Find your local American Heart association chapter here: https://www.heart.org/en/affiliates/georgia
CHCS Patient Education: Please speak with your provider about a referral to our Patient Health Educator, Camesha Grant
Find Free Heart Screenings and Events in Macon, Georgia Here:
Find Heart Disease Support Groups through Emory Healthcare Here:
Free Blood Pressure Screenings for Middle Georgia Area Patients
Navicent Health offers free blood pressure screenings at their Community Health Education Center.
Address: 877 Hemlock Street
Parking: free 15 minute parking is offered in the circle
Call: (478) 633-6349
Screenings available Tuesdays and Fridays; 9am – 12pm
Mayo Clinic – Heart Disease Symptoms & Causes
CDC – Heart Disease Risk Factors
Heart.org – Cardiovascular Disease
Healthline.com – Everything you need to know about Heart Disease