Think about the best sci-fi/horror movie or show you’ve ever seen, maybe Predator, Alien, Tremors,I am Legend, Nope, or The Last of Us. Think about it. There was always a formidable enemy who seemed to know the characters’ every move, lurking, seeking, until they killed many. Usually, however, the main protagonist, through cunning and skill, was able to outsmart the enemy, fight in intense battle, and win the victory with only a few cuts and scrapes. The same thing applies to beating the enemy that is heart disease.
Just like in sci-fi movies, you must arm yourself with knowledge to beat heart disease. To fight and defeat heart disease, you must know what it is, who it tends to kill, how it kills, what tools you must fight with, and that you can actually beat it. Let’s discuss how knowing the answers to these questions is crucial to combatting heart disease and how ARCpoint Labs’ health and wellness panels can help.
What is heart disease?
Heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions that affect the process of either having decreased blood flow to your heart or your heart not pumping enough blood to vital organs.
Heart disease is known as a slow and silent killer because the symptoms build upon one another, and you may not realize there is a problem until you are diagnosed with heart disease or experience a massive event from heart disease such as a heart attack or stroke.
Who does heart disease affect?
Heart disease can affect anyone, no matter your age, gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. People from all walks of life have been impacted by heart disease; however, you may have predispositions or other factors that put you at an elevated risk of developing it. Some of these include:
- Being 65 or older
- Family History of cardiovascular disease
- Having high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and/or diabetes
- Being overweight or obese
- Eating an unhealthy diet
- Being physically inactive
- Over-indulging in alcohol
- Smoking/Tobacco use
Heart disease can happen to anyone, so knowing your unique risk factors along with your current heart health is vital in your fight against heart disease.
How does heart disease kill you?
Unlike some cancers and other fatal diseases whose onset is usually sudden, heart disease, particularly coronary heart disease, is a gradual process that may take several years or even decades to manifest. Heart disease symptoms may give you a clue that there is a problem, but what is the problem?
The problem is a chain of events that build upon one another to cause major damage to your entire body which is summed up in one definition: heart disease. The usual chain of events for coronary heart disease is as follows:
- Plague builds up in the arteries, causing them to narrow and block the blood flow (atherosclerosis).
- Plague can also rupture, causing a blood clot that blocks blood flow.
- A blocked blood vessel prevents blood flow and oxygen from reaching the heart and other vital organs, which can lead to heart attack, chest pain (angina), or stroke.
- Both heart attacks and strokes are medical emergencies caused by blood not reaching your heart or brain, respectively, and can lead to death.
Because this process is slow and usually unnoticeable, especially in women, it is important to schedule regular physicals and wellness checks with your doctor. For added insight and prevention measures, you may also want to schedule a cardiac panel with a licensed medical testing facility as these panels give more specific information about your current heart health.
Can you beat heart disease?
Yes! Just like with any formidable foe, you must be strategic and use proven tools to repel the enemy. Heart disease can be beaten. Here are a few tools you can use to beat heart disease before it even has a chance:
Eat a heart-healthy diet – Eat a diet full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and most importantly, healthy fats. Stay away from too much sugar, salt, and overly processed foods, mainly shopping on the outside aisles in the grocery store. Also, stay away from tobacco and too much alcohol.
Exercise regularly – Aim for at least 30 minutes a day of aerobic activity such as walking, jogging, biking, and swimming, and include strength training and stretching to build up healthy muscles, including your heart, the vital muscle.
Maintain a healthy weight – An excessive amount of fat is a risk factor for heart disease, especially visceral fat, or fat around the waist. Women with a waist circumference of 35 in or greater and men with a waist circumference of 40 in or greater should actively work to reduce their body fat and increase their lean muscle.
Get enough sleep – Adults should aim for at least seven hours of sleep every night. Limiting screen time and developing a routine are helpful ways to ensure you will get adequate sleep.
Schedule regular health screenings, including cardiac health panels – Visit your local health provider to get screenings of your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and other factors that may indicate heart disease. Also, visit a local ARCpoint Labs for a cardiac health panel that takes a deeper look at your vitals and bodily functions to detect signs of heart disease, revealing possible steps you can take to beat it.
You can take the information from ARCpoint Labs’ cardiac panels and work with your primary care physician to discover what you can do to prevent or treat heart disease. We offer the following cardiac health panels:
- CardioPro Basic Panel
- CardioPro Advanced Panel
- Cardiac Evaluation Panel
- LPP (lipoprotein partide profile) Basic Profile
- High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-CRP)
To learn more, contact your local ARCpoint Labs or visit arcpointlabs.com.