Health Watch: 600,000 Americans die each year from cardiovascular disease

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 4:10 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - February is the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s National Heart Health Month - an event designed to highlight the dangers of America’s leading but most preventable cause of death.

For 57 years February has been the American Heart Month. Every year more than 600,000 Americans die from cardiovascular disease, however many of the factors that contribute to poor heart health are preventable. This month long awareness event held by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, highlights many of the preventable causes of heart disease.

Theresa Calderon of Foundation Health Partners gave us a professional look at some of the activities that can improve heart health. “Cardiovascular disease, it is the number one killer for Americans. So emphasizing the preventative part of this is super important. [For] Alaskans, it’s the number two killer. The things you can do at home to prevent things like this [include] increased exercise, the diet that we eat, avoiding animal proteins, getting as many supplements from your diet as possible such as vegetables.”

Cardiovascular disease refers to many problems in the circulatory system, including the heart and blood vessels. The effects of such complications can affect the lungs, brain, kidneys or other parts of the body. They can develop more easily for those with sedentary lifestyles, a more common occurrence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Metabolic syndrome is when you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a bigger waist circumference. What we would also consider obesity already puts you at higher risk. You can eliminate those things at home by doing physical activity, watching your weight, or even taking medications as prescribed by your provider if you already have cardiac high risk factors. Those things can all help prevent any further progression, or prevent the disease in general,” said Calderon.

According to Calderon the American College of Cardiology (ACC) recommends exercises that produce a heart rate of 85% the maximal heart rate predicted for a given patient’s age. This can be achieved through aerobic exercises. Calderon elaborated, “Aerobic activity is something that the ACC does recommend - and that’s 30 to 40 minutes of exercise, aerobic conditioning a couple times a week... not just going out for a walk, [or] doing your usual activity,”

For more information on American Heart Month visit the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s website here.

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