Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event. In order to urge Americans to join the battle against cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, the U.S. Congress instituted February as American Heart Month in 1963.
High cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and secondhand smoke are all risk factors associated with heart disease. Knowing the early signs of heart disease is a vitally important factor in diagnosing the problem and finding a solution. For me, it was the shortness of breath and heightened heart rate which compelled me to see my doctor in 2001. Sure enough, my cholesterol was quite high and the only thing that might have saved me from experiencing a full blown "heart episode" was the fact that I had been an athlete for most of my life.
Through dietary changes and an increased activity regimen, I have been able to get my cholesterol under control but, unfortunately, not without the help of medication. I remain hopeful that someday I will be able to stop taking Lipitor, but for now, I am happy that it has helped me in fighting my high cholesterol.
Everyone should be aware of what their cholesterol levels are through a cholesterol screening - without a blood test, it will be nearly impossible to discover if someone is suffering from unhealthy levels of cholesterol and/or triglycerides. Blood screening for coronary heart disease is recommended for all adults over 20 years of age, it's (nearly) painless, and could literally save a life.
American Heart Month is a great opportunity to start your journey to heart health. During the month of February many health services organizations offer free cholesterol screenings, blood pressure checks and also offer brief consultation with health care providers to discuss screening results. Check local listings or online searches for blood screening events and locations, and make sure to check out HealthCentral's American Heart Month's page for great tips and information.
Published On: February 14, 2011