According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), nearly 700,000 people die of heart disease in the United States ever year – that’s one in every five deaths – making it the leading cause of death. In addition, one person dies every 34 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.

Even with our advances in cardiac clinical treatments and research, these numbers continue to climb. We are seeing them rise again, post pandemic, as people exercised less, worked from home and overall had a more sedentary lifestyle. To prevent these figures from increasing, it’s crucial for the community to learn their risk factors and adopt lifestyle choices that promote overall cardiovascular health.

The key risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. Nearly half of Americans (49 percent) have at least one of these three risk factors. Despite recent progress in smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure rates, other risk factors such as obesity and diabetes are on the rise.

The MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day and a diet rich in fruits, whole grains and vegetables, as well as limited sodium intake and alcohol consumption.

Specialists at the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute help patients determine their risks for cardiovascular disease and peripheral vascular disease and provide them with valuable preventive strategies. Individualized screening programs are offered to measure risks for heart attack, stroke, and other related diseases, at a low-cost.

It is essential that people with high risk factors learn the warning signs of a heart attack. Heart attack related deaths can be prevented if the symptoms are recognized early on.

Although chest pain is a classic sign of a heart attack, it occurs in only about half of all cases. For those without chest pain, symptoms such as breathlessness, exhaustion, nausea, and sweating – either alone or in combination – all can indicate a heart attack.

As part of the program’s efforts, the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Medical Center is hosting its annual Women’s Heart & Stroke Seminar on Saturday, Feb 25 at 7:30 a.m. Both men and women are welcome to get screened for $25. In addition, don’t forget to join us in solidarity of women’s heart health by wearing red on Friday, Feb. 3.