American Heart Month – fighting the nation’s #1 killer

Throughout 2022, Turenne PharMedCo Pharmacy Services and Supply360 will celebrate 30 years of service to the healthcare community. We are marking our anniversary with a year-long series of initiatives and events aimed at support our employees and serving our local communities.

This month we are getting “heart smart” and joining organizations all over the nation in recognizing American Heart Month to help increase awareness about heart disease and its effects. We also encourage those with heart disease or those at risk for the condition to be “heart smart” by making healthy lifestyle changes and learning more about heart disease.

No. 1 killer

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Heart disease is also a major cause of disability, limiting the activity and eroding the quality of life of millions of people. People age 65 and older are much more likely than younger people to suffer a heart attack, to have a stroke, or to develop coronary heart disease (commonly called heart disease) and heart failure

Aging can cause changes in the heart and blood vessels. For example, as we get older, our hearts can’t beat as fast during physical activity or times of stress as it did when we were younger. Over the years, we may develop a buildup of fatty deposits in the walls of our arteries that can lead to heart disease. However, the most common aging change is increased stiffness of the large arteries, called arteriosclerosis. This causes high blood pressure, or hypertension, which becomes more common as we age.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is caused by atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty deposits, or plaques, in the walls of the coronary arteries over time. The coronary arteries surround the outside of the heart and supply blood nutrients and oxygen to the heart muscle. When plaque builds up inside the arteries, there is less space for blood to flow normally and deliver oxygen to the heart.

If the flow of blood to the heart is reduced by plaque buildup, it can cause angina (chest pain or discomfort) or a heart attack. When the heart muscle does not get enough oxygen and blood nutrients, the heart muscle cells will die (heart attack) and weaken the heart, diminishing its ability to pump blood to the rest of the body.

Signs of heart disease

A person in the early stages of heart disease may not have any symptoms or the symptoms may be barely noticeable. That’s why regular checkups with a doctor are important. The following symptoms should be reported to a doctor or health care provider:

  • Chest pain during physical activity that gets better when you rest
  • Cold sweats
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Pain, numbness, and/or tingling in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back
  • Problems doing your normal activities
  • Reduced ability to exercise or be physically active
  • Shortness of breath when active, at rest, or while lying flat
  • Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, stomach and/or neck
  • Tiredness or fatigue
Make “heart smart” decisions

Making healthy changes can lower the risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower the risk factors, you can incorporate the following changes:

  • Control your cholesterol, blood pressure and/or diabetes
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet
  • Get active
  • If you have heart disease or have had a heart attack, find a cardiac rehabilitation program
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke
Take action during American Heart Month

According to America Heart Association history, the first president to proclaim February as American Heart Month was Lyndon B. Johnson in 1960. He declared, that “over one-half of the 10 million Americans afflicted by the cardiovascular diseases are stricken during their most productive years, thereby causing a staggering physical and economic loss to the nation.”

If you or a loved one is experiencing signs of heart disease or having difficulty managing your heart-related condition, don’t let it steal away valuable years and life. Please consult a healthcare provider about recommended options and lifestyle changes. Then join PharMedCo in spreading the word during American Heart Month!