- Heart disease is the leading cause of death.
- There are approximately 65,000 deaths per year in Florida from cardiovascular disease.
- 39% of all deaths are from cardiovascular disease - just 23% are from cancer.
- Hospitalization costs to care for Floridians with cardiovascular disease exceeded $4.4 billion in 2003!
Educational brochures in Acrobat Format:
Healthy Heart (es)
Risk Factors (es)
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- 20% of all Social Security disability payments are made to disabled Americans with heart disease.
- 25% of males and 38% of females who experience a heart attack die within a year.
- 50% of men and 63% of women who die of sudden cardiac death experience no previous symptoms of coronary heart disease.
- Cardiovascular disease claims more lives each year than the next seven leading causes of death combined.
Heart Attack- Learn the Warning Signs!
The symptoms of a heart attack are different with everyone and may include any combination of the following:
- Chest Pain or Discomfort:can be painful or feel more like pressure, squeezing or fullness.
- Discomfort Elsewhere:may be in one or both arms, shoulder, jaw, neck or abdomen.
- Shortness of Breath:can appear on its own or in tandem with other symptoms.
- Other Symptoms:nausea, dizziness, cold sweat.
When you, or someone you are with, experiences ANY of these symptoms or is unresponsive, CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY! Don't wait to see if symptoms subside. Every second counts.
Know the Risk Factors
Understanding what puts you at risk for heart disease and how you can modify or reduce your risk may save your life!
- Family History of heart attacks in either or both of your parents or other close relatives, especially at young ages, increases the risk that you may have a heart attack. It is extremely important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle if your family history puts you at greater risk.
- Age increases the risk of heart disease as the body gets older. Risk becomes greater at ages 55 for men and 65 for women (after menopause).
- Cholesterol in the blood is normal, but too much can build to form a paste that lines the blood vessels. This thickening of the arteries makes the heart have to work harder. High cholesterol can be inherited but can also be diet-related. Regular exercise, and if necessary, medicine can help to lower cholesterol levels.
- Diabetes occurs when insulin production is faulty and the body can't process glucose, or sugar. Over time, blood vessels become damaged, increasing risk. A low sugar diet and exercise may control diabetes in some-others may require medicine.
- Blood Pressure measures the force of the blood against the artery walls. If the pressure is too high (hypertension), it weakens the blood vessels and strains the heart. You cannot "feel" high blood pressure and should have your blood pressure checked regularly. A healthy diet that is low in salt, moderate alcohol use and regular exercise may keep blood pressure in check, however, blood pressure lowering medication may be necessary.
- Smoking nearly doubles your risk of a heart attack. The nicotine in tobacco makes the blood vessels narrow causing the heart to work harder. Smoking is the most preventable risk factor for heart disease.
- Obesity substantially increases your risk of a heart attack since the heart must pump harder in obese people. Your ideal weight is based upon your sex and height-see our website for more info.
- Inactivity can double the risk for heart disease and also contributes to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. Regular exercise improves blood circulation and heart efficiency.
- Systolic Blood Pressure < 120 mm Hg
- Diastolic Blood Pressure < 80 mm Hg
- Total Cholesterol < 200 mg/dL
- LDL (Bad) Cholesterol < 130 mg/dL
- HDL (Good ) Cholesterol > 40 mg/dL
- Cholesterol Ratio (Total / HDL) < 4.1
- Body Mass Index < 25
- Fasting Glucose < 110 mg/dL
Make Your Heart Healthy!
Many of the risk factors for heart disease, such as family history, cannot be influenced, but there are ways to minimize your risk:
- Eat a Heart Healthy Diet that is low in salt and cholesterol but high in fiber. Avoid foods high in saturated fats such as milk products, red meats, spreads and dressings-these foods are high in cholesterol. Select foods under 4 grams of total fat for every 100 calories. Total sodium intake should be under 2,400 mg a day. Cook your foods without salt and use olive oil rather than butter. Eat more protein-rich legumes, fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise and Maintain a Healthy Weight to lower your cholesterol and your blood pressure. Exercising helps to increase your HDL, the "Healthy" cholesterol, and reduce your total cholesterol. A good rule of thumb is to strive for 30 minutes of exercise a day. Whenever possible, take the stairs rather than the elevator or walk to the market rather than drive.
- Reduce Stress through relaxation techniques and a positive attitude. Stress causes your heart to have to work harder. Learn what techniques work best for you and then employ them daily.
- Stop Smoking by identifying when you most like to smoke and then changing your daily habits to avoid those times. Substitute healthier habits such as chewing gum, going for walks, or munching on a carrot stick. Avoid contact with other smokers!
- Limit Alcohol to no more than 2 drinks (or 1 ounce of alcohol) per day. Alcohol can raise your blood pressure.
- Take Your Medication if prescribed by your doctor. Medication to reduce your blood pressure or cholesterol may save your life!
An important part of heart health is knowing your numbers! The Florida Heart Research Institute offers a free cardiovascular risk factor screening. Call our clinical department today to make an appointment. (305) 674-3181.