Every 34 seconds, someone suffers a heart attack in the United States. In fact, about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of those, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.

Any way you slice it, heart heath is important. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. every year. Heart disease costs the United States about $200 billion each year. That number includes health care services, medications and lost productivity.

Chronic health conditions are increasingly becoming a problem in the United States. Health issues like heart disease and diabetes impact thousands of Americans. In fact, 87 percent of older Americans report at least one chronic illness and 68 percent reported to or more according to a 2014 report from The Commonwealth Fund. Heart care services and heart procedures save lives, but it’s important to know about the things that can affect heart health.

High risk factors for heart disease include:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Smoking

What’s more is that 47 percent of Americans have at least one of these three risk factors. Further still, about 47 percent of sudden cardiac deaths occur outside a hospital, which suggests many people with heart disease don’t act on early warning signs.

Heart disease symptoms can include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid or irregular pulse
  • Chest pain that increases in intensity
  • Chest pain that is followed by sweating or clammy skin
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Heart Palpitations

Since heart care is important for your overall health, it’s important to get in to see a cardiologist if something doesn’t seem right. Here are 5 reasons you should consider seeing a cardiologist.

  • High Cholesterol: The higher your total cholesterol, the sum total of all the cholesterol in your blood, the greater your risk for heart disease is. A cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or higher is considered a risk.
  • High Blood Pressure:
  • High blood pressure typically has no outward symptoms, but over time it can cause some big problems. A healthy blood pressure should be 120/80 or as close as possible. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, that usually means you’re at risk too and a trip to a cardiologist can help give you some guidance on how to get your blood pressure under control.

  • Smoking: Smoking increases blood pressure and heart rate among other things. It is a big risk factor for heart disease for these reasons and also damages the cells lining the arteries.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes can contribute to heart disease and if you’re diabetic and experience any of the warning signs listed above, a trip to the cardiologist is probably in order.
  • Heart Pain: This one is a no-brainer. If you’re experiencing chest pain, irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations, get to a cardiologist right away to avoid further problems.

As you get older, keeping your heart healthy takes on an increased importance. Eighty four percent of people aged 65 and older die from heart disease. To combat heart disease, there are many ways to take care of your heart.

If a trip to the cardiologist is in order, find one here and book an appointment.
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