February is American Heart Month

First declared by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 to raise awareness of heart disease’s devastating toll, 2018 marks February’s 54th year as American Heart Month. Heart disease, which also encompasses heart-related problems such as stroke and other cardiovascular issues, remains the leading cause of death in the United States.

Consider these numbers:

  • Of the estimated 720,000 heart attacks in the U.S. per year, 205,000 are a second occurrence.
  • In the United States, a heart attack occurs every 34 seconds.
  • Someone dies from heart disease every 60 seconds.
  • Direct and indirect costs of heart disease total more than $320 billion annually.

Heart disease is also the number leading cause of death for females, killing one woman every minute of every day. About one out of every eight female deaths is attributed to coronary heart disease, while breast cancer causes about one in thirty-one. More than 6.6 million women alive today in the U.S. have coronary heart disease, and 90 percent of all women have one or more risk factors for developing it or suffering a stroke.

Causes of Heart Disease

One well-documented heart disease risk factor is the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) in the blood. Although the body produces LDL naturally, genetics can actually play a role in producing even more. Excess LDL cholesterol can accumulate on the walls of the arteries providing blood to the heart and brain, narrowing them and making it more difficult to pump blood through - which in turn causes your blood pressure to rise. If a clot eventually forms, it can completely block an artery and lead to a heart attack, a stroke, or even death.

Keep in mind that what you eat can also make your cholesterol issue better or worse. If you have a problem with cholesterol, then high LDL foods should be avoided. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Egg Yolk
  • Caviar
  • Liver Pate
  • Butter
  • Shrimp
  • Fast Food {due to the saturated fat used to cook them)
  • Oil Packed Fish
  • Cheese
  • Processed Meats
  • Shellfish

There are also pharmaceuticals your doctor can prescribe to help reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood such as statins, niacin, bile-acid resins, and fibric acid derivatives. The most commonly used, statins, are recognized as the only drug to actually prevent heart attacks. However, all of the drugs listed are most effective when combined with a low-cholesterol diet.

Doctors commonly prescribe the following brands to lower the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood:

  • Vytorin
  • Zocor
  • Altocor
  • Pravachol
  • Crestor
  • Mevacor
  • Baycol
  • Lescol
  • Lipitor
  • Zetia

Use February To Raise Awareness

We are encouraging people to take advantage of the month to raise heart health awareness and what can be done to alleviate the problem once and for all.

For example, you can:

  • Making small changes to your lifestyle like using spices to season your food rather than salt
  • Encourage teachers and school administrators to have more physical activities in school
  • Encourage doctors and nurses to speak up about ways to prevent heart disease
  • Discuss with friend and neighbors on how to live a heart healthy lifestyle
  • Join and contribute to the American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association (AHA) helps educate the public on battling heart disease, and in 2010 set a goal to reduce heart attack-related deaths and disabilities by 20 percent by 2020.

The AHA has created a program called Go Red For Women, a social initiative meant to empower women to take charge of their heart health. Since 2003, the AHA as well as the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has used this initiative to encourage women to wear a red dress to increase awareness about the women who are also battling the disease.

The Eichholz Law Firm encourages everyone to practice healthy heart habits. However, we are also aware that medicines prescribed to lower bad cholesterol or others that are meant to enhance better heart health can cause problems and even injure people who take them. If such a drug has injured you, then we can help. We are knowledgeable in handling lawsuits against negligent drug companies that should be held accountable. If you have been the victim of such companies, please give us a call.