The Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence (CCME) recently announced its support for American Heart Month, an annual national observance held during February to raise awareness of the risk factors, signs and symptoms, and preventive measures associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CVD is the leading cause of death in the United States, and claims nearly 2,300 lives every day.
Though often used interchangeably with heart disease, CVD refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels, which can lead to a heart attack, chest pain, or stroke. The most common risk factors that may lead to CVD or heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco use, and family history. Although men and women have the same risk factors for being diagnosed with CVD, the signs of a heart attack can vary between genders.
“While men are more likely to experience a weighted chest pressure often described as feeling as though an elephant is sitting across their chest, heart attack symptoms in women tend to be ignored,” said Ross Simpson, Jr., MD, PhD, MPH, CCME medical director. “Women may experience a heavy chest pain, but they are also more likely to experience other warning signs including back or jaw pain, nausea and vomiting, fatigue and dizziness, sweating, and shortness of breath — symptoms that are often associated with less critical illnesses.”
CCME’s work includes participation in the CDC’s national Million Hearts campaign to help prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. CCME and other campaign sponsors are working together to reach this goal by raising public awareness of the clinical prevention ABCS of CVD:
• Aspirin therapy
• Blood pressure control
• Cholesterol control
• Smoking cessation and reducing Sodium intake.
Through all of these efforts, CCME and its partners encourage patients and their families, health organizations, businesses, and communities to come together to raise awareness about taking simple steps for longer, healthier, and happier lives.
For more information about Heart Awareness Month, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.