Your heart is the engine of your body. And even though you might think it’s working normally, this major organ requires special care and attention.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 600,000 people in the United States die each year from heart disease. The CDC also reports that a quarter of Hispanics have high blood pressure.
There are many types of heart complications, but one of the most common is coronary heart disease.
What is coronary heart disease and what are the causes?
This illness — called atherosclerosis — happens when plaque forms in the artery walls, restricting normal blood flow through the body. This plaque is made up of cholesterol, calcium and other substances.
There are many risks factors causing coronary heart diseases, some related to your lifestyle or medical conditions, including:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Being overweight
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Smoking, among others
When a clogged artery restricts your flow of blood, you may experience these symptoms:
- Chest pains
- Irregular heartbeat or arrhythmias
- Heart failure, or even a heart attack
Prevention and treatment
To reduce the risk of getting these or other heart diseases, take your blood pressure every six months and go over the results with your doctor. It’s also a good idea to eat well, exercise and not smoke.
Along with a balanced diet and exercise regimen, your physician may also prescribe medication to treat heart disease. If your condition is more advanced, bypass surgery may be needed to allow the blood to return to its normal flow.
Million Hearts is a national initiative where you can find information about heart disease. It also offers the opportunity to help prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.