A silent, yet deadly killer, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than half a million people each year – which is why we can all benefit from improving our heart health. Written by Matthew Budoff, Enhancing Heart Health: Preventing a Heart Attack teaches readers fun facts about the heart, and includes tips on how to maintain proper functionality in this crucial organ. The following is a snippet from his book:
Every 33 seconds, someone dies of heart disease. It remains the number-one killer disease in the United States, and has held that position since 1900 (except for 1918). It is sad that symptoms and outcomes of an unhealthy heart are commonplace.
According to the American Heart Association, nearly 13 million people alive today have a history of heart attack, angina, or both. This year, more than a million Americans will suffer a new or repeat heart attack. One out of every 2.5 deaths in the United States can be attributed to heart disease. That’s more than 2,600 heart disease deaths in America every single day!
Heart disease is number one killer in women
The reality is that other leading causes of death pale in comparison to heart disease. Heart disease claims more lives each year than cancer, accidents, and AIDS put together. This is true in both men and women.
As a cardiologist, I am frustrated by the startling statistic that death is the first and last symptom of heart disease for almost one-third of those who have it. Of the more than 1.4 million people who died of heart disease in 2000, more than 420,000 never made it to a hospital to be treated by a physician. To a doctor who is devoted to saving lives, that fact is unacceptable.
Enhancing heart health
Amazingly, heart disease kills more men and women each year than all forms of cancer combined.
Heart disease is a blanket term that describes a category of illnesses that affect heart health. High blood pressure, cholesterol, and homocysteine levels are all thought to contribute to the development of some form of heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association, of the nearly 62 million Americans with heart disease in 2000, 50 million had high blood pressure, 7.6 million suffered an acute heart attack, 6.6 million experienced chest pain or discomfort caused by reduced blood supply (also known as angina), and still another 4.7 million people suffered a stroke, a related illness caused by the loss of blood flow to the brain.
Furthermore, the American Heart Association estimates that 105 million Americans have high cholesterol, and about 42 million of those have dangerously high levels. A total blood cholesterol level of 200 mg/dl or higher is considered above normal.
The emotional and physical toll of heart disease is staggering. But the financial price we pay is also exorbitant. In 1996 alone, the American Heart Association estimated that heart disease cost the public more than $151 billion dollars. According to the most recent statistics from the American Heart Association, that number is expected to climb to almost $352 billion in 2003.
When operating at peak capacity, the heart is an absolutely amazing organ
The process seems quite simple, but its importance is monumental. After all, the result of a poorly functioning heart can be death.
Simply stated, the heart’s main task is to move oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood out to the body’s other tissues and organs, and then circulate blood from the rest of the body to the lungs where it can be reoxygenated.
The human adult body contains anywhere from 4.5 to 6 liters of blood. Men have about 10 percent more blood than women. Amazingly, the heart pumps about 1,980 gallons of blood through our bodies every day. At rest, the heart beats about 60 to 80 times per minute. That’s a lot of activity for such a small organ.
For more on maintaining great heart health, pick up a copy of Budoff’s book today!