This kills 2,300 Americans every day

This kills 2,300 Americans every day

More than 17.9 million worldwide deaths each year are attributed to cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association.

That’s about the population of Chile.

The most common form of heart disease, coronary heart disease, occurs when plaque buildup in the artery walls limit blood flow to the heart.

Dr. Anupama Shivaraju, a cardiologist with the Advocate Heart Institute at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., says heart disease risk factors include:

  • Male over 45, female over 55
  • Overweight/obese
  • Diabetes
  • Poor diet
  • Physically inactive
  • High cholesterol
  • Depression
  • Smoking/using tobacco
  • Family history

“One of the most important things I tell my patients is that women, diabetics and the elderly don’t present with the classic chest pain and pressure,” says Dr. Shivaraju. “Instead, they often notice a difference in their ability to do things. For instance, if they were typically completing a certain amount of chores at one point, they’re now finding they’re able to do less and less.”

So what can you do?

“Primary prevention is key,” says Dr. Shivaraju. “We need to watch what we eat and how active we are from an early age. Keep your health issues in check; if you’re prescribed medication for cholesterol, take it. It’s important to listen to your body – if you feel you’re able to do less than before, you need to see your physician.”

 Take our Heart Health Assessment to estimate your risk, determine your controllable and uncontrollable risk factors and receive guidance on what to do next. 

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About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is the public affairs coordinator at Advocate Children's Hospital. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.