Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women globally each year. More than 17 million people die from this disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, which is more than die from all types of cancer combined. And while heart disease is a global killer there isn’t a simple cure.
That is due in part to the fact that it is an umbrella term used to describe a handful of other, more specific conditions ranging from coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure to congenital heart disease (conditions that patients are born with) and arrhythmia (improper heartbeats).

While congenital conditions occur at no fault of the patient’s many other conditions which fall under the cardiovascular disease umbrella are the direct result of dietary and lifestyle choices. And, when those poor lifestyle choices are made by a person with a genetic history of cardiovascular disease it’s a recipe for disaster.

The very first line of defense in protecting yourself from cardiovascular disease is to take careful stock of your diet and exercise routine. Make sure you’re eating plenty of fresh vegetables and lean meats while staying away from cigarette smoke, alcohol, and sugary drinks. Additionally, if you don’t already exercise, talk with your doctor about what kind of exercise would be safe for you. Even moderate exercise can make a good improvement to your heart health.

But even if you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating healthfully, and getting regular exercise, it’s a good idea to know the warning signs of heart disease. First and foremost, do some research into your family tree. Your genes play a big role in your likelihood of having cardiovascular disease. If you have a family history, set yourself up with a cardiologist who can help monitor your heart health.

But it’s important, especially if you have a family history of cardiovascular disease, to monitor yourself for the early physical signs of disease. Here are a few of the most common:

Chest pain is a very common early warning sign of heart disease. It occurs when blood vessels around the heart are blocked, restricting blood flow and causing a pain that is referred to as Angina. If you feel pain in your chest, call your doctor immediately. Shortness of breath and fatigue are two other common cardiovascular disease early warning signs. Patients experience these because the heart and lungs are responsible for transporting oxygenated blood throughout your body and then removing the carbon dioxide from your tissues. If one of these organs isn’t working properly (in this case the heart) it can leave you feeling breathless and fatigued.

You might think about your heart health frequently, or perhaps you’re just now starting to consider it. Either way, there is no time like the present to begin prioritizing your heart health. If you’re ready to consult with a cardiologist, contact us today. We’ll happily help you down the path to heart health.