Paying Attention to Cardiovascular Health – Don’t Miss A Beat

Your heart pumps life through your veins, and when it’s not healthy, it can kill you. Cardiovascular disease and stroke are above the next four leading causes of death – including cancer – for taking the lives of women every day. And because up to 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease, now is the best time to pay attention to your ticker.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an abnormal function of the heart or blood vessels. It can cause an increase in risk for heart attack, heart failure, sudden death, stroke and cardiac rhythm problems, thus resulting in decreased quality of life and decreased life expectancy.The causes of cardiovascular disease range from structural defects, to infection, inflammation, environment and genetics. In order to help prevent cardiovascular disease one must adopt a healthy lifestyle and avoid smoking, fattening foods and stress.

Heart disease is a broad term used to describe a range of diseases that affect your heart. The various diseases that fall under the umbrella of heart disease include diseases of your blood vessels, such as coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); heart infections; and heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects).

One in three American adults has some form of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). Heart disease and stroke are the most common cardiovascular diseases. They are the first and third leading causes of death for both men and women in the United States. Cardiovascular Disease includes high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke. It is the leading cause of death in America and the World.

The heart is an amazing organ. It beats in a steady, even rhythm, about 60 to 100 times each minute (that’s about 100,000 times each day!). But, sometimes your heart gets out of rhythm. An irregular or abnormal heartbeat is called an arrhythmia. An arrhythmia (also called a dysrhythmia) can involve a change in the rhythm, producing an uneven heartbeat, or a change in the rate, causing a very slow or very fast heartbeat.

There are no symptoms that serve as a warning until it is too late. Left untreated, it can cause an increase in heart attacks, strokes, arterial narrowing and heart disease. This is why it is crucial to be screened for high cholesterol once every five years.Though the danger of excess cholesterol has clearly been shown, there is an important function that cholesterol serves in our body.
Cholesterol, a waxy substance similar to fat and made in the liver, is needed by the body to create hormones, Vitamin D and bile acids. However, an excess of the wrong type of cholesterol can increase your risk for stroke, heart disease, heart attacks and plaque formation in the arteries.

We look forward to the day when we see an abundance of red ribbons proudly worn, not simply to raise awareness of heart disease, but also in celebration of improved heart health and lives saved as a result of increased awareness and implementation of heart healthy measures. Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices.

Celeste Botonakis

On the Nursing Assistant Guides blog, certified medical assistant Celeste Botonakis explores the daily life of a CMA. She'll keep you up-to-date with the latest on what’s happening in the field, and provides tips for those who are interested in becoming a medical or nursing assistant. Celeste has served in the medical field for over six years, and is passionate about helping people. She currently works at CSR Primary Care in Skokie, Illinois. Click here to learn more about Celeste Botonakis and