Heart Disease in Texas
February Is American Heart Month
This year marks the 57th consecutive year in which we celebrate American Heart Month. As part of the medical community, we are raising our raising awareness to help keep our friends and families free from heart disease.
While medical advances continue to improve our quality of life, cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer of Americans.
The American Heart Association estimates that heart disease and stroke kill close to 2300 people a day. More alarming, perhaps, is that younger people are falling victim to cardiovascular disease more than ever before.
Heart Disease in Texas
These are the most updated statistics in Texas in 2021. Statistics shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that heart disease was the leading cause of death in Texas in 2017, while stroke took third place.
According to the 2017 Texas Heart Disease and Stroke Fact Sheet:
- 45,346 people in Texas died of heart disease in 2017. Source: Heart.org
- The highest prevalence of heart disease is among white males. Source: Dshs.texas.org
- Death by heart disease is more common in male black adults. Source: dshs.texas.gov.
- Heart attacks are generally more severe in women than in men. Source: TexasHeart.org.
What Are Your Risk Factors?
We usually associate heart disease with older people; however, many of the medical conditions and lifestyle behaviors associated with an increased risk of heart disease are appearing at a younger age.
These are some of the most common risk factors for cardiovascular disease:
High Blood Pressure
Hypertension is becoming more frequent in people in their 40’s and 50’s, but it can affect anyone at any age.
The real danger is that many of us don’t know we have high blood pressure and are therefore not doing anything to control it.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the most significant risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
While it’s true, our bodies need cholesterol to build healthy cells, too much of it can increase our risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol has a waxy consistency and when we have high levels of it, we can develop fatty deposits in our blood vessels.
These deposits adhere to the walls of our arteries; over time, the buildup slows or prevents blood flow from reaching the heart muscle.
Sometimes these deposits break free and cause a clot that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Smoking is known to damage blood vessels and causes heart disease. If you are one of the 37 million Americans that are smokers, speak to your doctor to find out how you can quit.
If you are not a smoker, don’t start!
Certain chronic conditions are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis.
The high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can damage blood vessels and the nerves that help control the heart muscle.
The chronic inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions causes damage to the blood vessels and arteries and can significantly increase the risk of a heart attack.
Those extra pounds most of us carry around put additional stress on our hearts, which over time, can damage it.
Obesity has become a real health problem with more than 1 in 3 Americans and nearly 1 in 6 children under the age of 19 being obese.
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
Recognize When You Are Having a Heart Attack or Stroke
When it comes to cardiovascular episodes the faster you get medical attention the better the outcome. So, it’s essential to learn how to recognize a heart attack or stroke.
Signs of a Heart Attack
Should you experience any of the following symptoms, call 911 immediately and ask them to bring you the nearest Altus Emergency Center or other nearby ER.
- Pain, uncomfortable pressure, sense of fullness or tightness in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes or comes and goes
- Unusual discomfort or pain in one or both arms, stomach, neck, jaw or back
- Unexplained shortness of breath with or without chest pain
- Suddenly breaking out in cold sweat, lightheadedness, or nausea
The most common sign of heart attack in both men and women is chest pain or discomfort. Women are more likely to experience some of the symptoms, including especially shortness of breath, back and jaw pain, as well as nausea.
Signs of a Stroke
Both men and women share these stroke symptoms:
- Face drooping
- Arm weakness
- Slurred speech
- Vision problems
- Trouble walking and other coordination problems
- Unexplained severe headache
Additionally, women who are suffering from a stroke may experience the following:
- General weakness
- Disorientation, confusion, and memory problems
Taking control of your heart health needs to be a priority, changes in lifestyle and diet can help protect our heart from illness.
However, even when healthy, we can experience a cardiovascular episode. That is why at Altus Emergency Centers, we guarantee minimal wait times and quality emergency medical care 24/7.