Cleveland, Ohio: Ninety percent of the nearly 18 million heart disease cases worldwide could be prevented by people adopting a healthier diet, doing regular exercise, and not smoking, says an expert at a top American hospital, Cleveland Clinic, ahead of World Heart Day on September 29.
Dr. Leslie Cho, Section Head for Preventive Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic, said:“Heart disease is 90 percent treatable – everyone can prevent heart disease anywhere in the world, especially by eating foods that are low in salt and cholesterol, exercising regularly, and not smoking. Even if a person has a family history of heart disease, we can still prevent and treat heart disease thanks to incredible advances in medicine.”
Worldwide, cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death, claiming 17.9 million lives in 2019, with three quarters of these deaths in low- and middle-income countries according to the World Health Organization. Eighty five percent of these cardiovascular disease deaths were due to heart attacks and strokes. Risk factors include unhealthy diets, low physical activity, smoking, alcoholism, and pollution.
Dr. Cho emphasized the importance of starting heart disease prevention in childhood – with cholesterol screenings as early as the age of seven.“We do not want to start children on cholesterol medication at that age, but rather to get them thinking about the importance of a healthy diet and regular exercise,” said Dr. Cho.“We think of heart disease as an old person's problem but, really, prevention should start in childhood.”
Industry guidelines, such as those of the American Heart Association, recommend that blood pressure screenings start at the age of 20 and be conducted every year. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, but usually has no symptoms, and needs to be measured to be confirmed.
Patients should get their cholesterol checked at least every five years and more often if risk factors exist. In addition, their body mass index should be evaluated to see if they have a healthy body weight, and their blood glucose levels measured to see if they are at risk of diabetes, which can also be a contributing factor for heart disease.
Dr. Cho added that women have additional risk factors:“Women have what we call a 10-year gender gap. Due to estrogen, they tend to get heart disease in their 60s, in comparison with men, who get it in their 50s. However, having diabetes eliminates this gap for women. Hypertension or diabetes during pregnancy are also major risk factors for early heart disease among women. People with auto-immune disorders, such as Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or lupus, are at increased risk of heart disease, and 80 percent of people with autoimmune disease are women.”
About Cleveland Clinic :
Cleveland Clinic – now in its centennial year – is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation's best hospitals in its annual“America's Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic's 70,800 employees worldwide are more than 4,660 salaried physicians and researchers, and 18,500 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,500-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 19 hospitals, more than 220 outpatient facilities, and locations in southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2020, there were 8.7 million total outpatient visits, 273,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 217,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic's health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries.
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