Heart for more than $500 billion per year alone

Heart Disease Risk Factors and Prevention


Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death seen throughout the United States. Health care costs are soaring at an all-time high. According to Healthy People 2020 cardiovascular disease, such as stroke and heart disease, is among the most widespread and costly health problems currently seen in the US today (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012). Health care costs are reported to account for more than $500 billion per year alone (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012). At the same time, cardiovascular disease can be the most prevented. By improving your cardiovascular health through diet and exercise, you will be able to improve your overall health and quality of life. One must utilize certain interventions to decrease possible risk factors that may increase your chance of having a stroke or heart attack. There are three main categories of interventions, those being: prevention, early detection and treatment. Prevention is the key to living a healthier and longer life. Prevention starts with educating the public regarding what cardiovascular disease is, possible risk factors, and ways to prevent the occurrence from happening. By starting to educate at a young age regarding eating a healthy diet and maintaining an appropriate exercise regimen, we will be able to decrease the chance of developing cardiovascular disease and increasing one’s health and lifespan (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012). Early detection should be initiated at an early age. One should assess his or hers primary and secondary risks factors for developing cardiovascular disease. Based on possible risk factors one may be able to determine if he or she is at an increased risk for development. Early detection includes checking one’s blood pressure as recommended, regular doctor check-ups, and lifestyle assessment. If detected early and controlled it is possible to decrease the risk of further development and complications. Treatments can vary depending on severity and degree of risk factor. For example if one is diagnosed with diabetes, this can sometimes be controlled through diet and exercise versus a prescribed medication regimen. Anticoagulation therapy may also be a treatment for stroke and heart attacks, with appropriate aspirin dosing one may prevent such events. Smoking is a leading cause of both strokes and heart attacks; one should practice smoking cessation or seek additional assistance for quitting, there are many programs available to fit every lifestyle. In advanced cases one may need surgical intervention and procedures to correct, restore and prevent further damage. Next what is heart disease and how does it affect one’s life. The most prevalent type of heart disease observed in the United States is coronary artery disease (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). Coronary artery disease occurs when plaque builds up in one’s arteries that supply the heart blood. Build up can eventually decrease or block the blood supply to the heart, and in some cases break off and clot a coronary artery causing a heart attack or even travel to the brain causing a stroke (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). High levels of plaque buildup increases one’s risk of a heart attack, heart failure and angina (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). Heart disease is a very debilitating and prevalent disease seen within the western lifestyle. In many instances the population is aware of their possible risk factors, but fails to intervene and control as necessary. There are several risk factors that one may modify and control to decrease such events from occurring. At the same time one should know that there are risk factors one may possess that are not modifiable and play significant roles in health status. Leading causes that are easily modified include controlling ones blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, weight, activity level and refraining for smoking (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012). By educating the population on these easily modifiable changes they will be able to prevent long-term damages that can occur when not properly maintained. Cardiovascular disease can be affected by many aspects of one make up. Things such as one’s age, gender and race are non-modifiable and can carry an increased risk for occurrence. Possible factors that may influence one’s health status and also may be unable to be modified are things such as access to healthy foods, access to quality health care, community resources and educational opportunities (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012). Blood pressure and cholesterol are the top two major contributors to cardiovascular disease. It is reported that every one in three adults have high blood pressure; however it is untreated blood pressure that is a major risk factor. Approximately half of the population with blood pressure issues does not have it under control (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012). Healthy People 2020 suggest that one should have blood pressure screened starting at the age of 18, and then every two years there forth (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012).

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The best way to decrease the number of cardiovascular disease and solve this epidemic is through a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Depending on association and one’s risk factors, there may be several different types of recommendation and intervention necessary. Diet and exercise are the most suggested and effective interventions for prevention throughout one’s lifespan. Exercise is great for many things, from decreasing weight, to improving self-esteem. In this case it helps decrease the amount of excess weight to decrease the amount of strain that is put onto the circulatory system. It is said that one should maintain a good exercise regimen throughout one’s life. The recommended amount of exercise one should get is five days a week, approximately 30 minutes per day (National Stroke Association, 2013). Ideally one should participate in aerobic and strength-training exercises. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring, it can be considered taking a bike ride, play a sport, briskly walking your dog, taking a walk through the park, the main idea is to maintain an active pace for at least thirty minutes. By decreasing your weight you can also decrease your chances of developing hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which all plays a major role in strokes and heart attacks (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012). Physical activity may be influenced by one’s surroundings. The amount of greenness in one’s surroundings can potentially have an effect on coronary heart disease and stroke. It’s shown that a greater area of surrounding greenness promotes one’s physical activity due to the promotion of outside activities such as community walking, biking areas and sports (Pereira, et. al., 2012). Diet can play a major role in one’s health. A healthy diet includes appropriate servings of fruits, vegetables, fish, soy, whole grains, lean meats, eggs, and dairy per daily recommendations. It has been shown in studies that consuming fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of stroke. One should consume at least three to five servings of fruits and vegetables per day it is suggested (Sherzai, et. al., 2012). A vegetarian diet have been shown and linked to additionally reducing one’s risk of hypertension, type II diabetes, and heart disease. Simply one should consume recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables from an early age on. It is shown that increased amounts of sodium intake can additionally contribute to high blood pressure, still yet we as Americans exceed the recommended daily intake (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012). Increased levels of salt are generally seen in the restaurant and fast food industries, by decreasing the amount of food consumed outside the home one may have the ability to decrease one’s sodium intake. Decreasing one’s sugar consumption may additionally reduce CVD, especially fructose consumption (Thornley, et. al., 2012). The average recommended sugar intake is no more than six teaspoons per day for women, and nine per day for men (Thornley, et. al., 2012). Hospitals and nurses can have a huge impact on prevention, identification and prevention of cardiovascular disease. As a nurse one may encourage lifestyle goals that may improve one’s prevention of heart disease. It is shown that adequate physical exercise, healthy weight, blood pressure control, diabetes screening, diabetes control, and anticoagulation therapy are favored to reduce risk (Suri, et. al., 2010). It was shown that within 12 months of lifestyle modifications the majority of patients had seven out of nine risk factors for CVD under control (Suri, et. al., 2010).