FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MARCH 15, 2018 • WELLNESS • THE QUEENS COURIER 41
5 things your doctor may not have
told you about heart disease
Every day your heart beats an estimated
100,000 times to move 2,000 gallons of
blood through your body. Th at equates to
more than 2.5 billion beats in your lifetime!
It’s no surprise heart health is a priority
for many people, especially considering
that heart disease is so common.
One in four deaths in the United States
is caused by heart disease. More than
610,000 people die of heart disease in
the U.S. every year, making it the leading
cause of death for both men and
women, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
You know you need to eat a nutritious
diet, exercise and avoid smoking. However,
there’s a lot more you need to know to protect
yourself and your family. Consider
these fi ve surprising things your doctor may
not have told you about heart disease.
Heart disease can be caused
by a genetic disorder
You may never heard of familial hypercholesterolemia
(FH), a common, but
inherited genetic disorder that causes
heart disease. FH aff ects approximately
one in 250 people worldwide, but currently
90 percent of people born with
this genetic condition are not diagnosed.
Individuals with FH have a high amount
of low density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad”
cholesterol in their blood from birth.
Th is lifelong burden of cholesterol is a
major reason why FH leads to very early
and severe heart disease. Th e good news
is that FH is manageable if detected and
treated early in life. If high cholesterol and
early heart disease runs in your family,
learn more at thefh foundation.org.
Many heart attacks occur
outside the hospital
About 47 percent of sudden cardiac
deaths occur outside a hospital, according
to the CDC. Th is suggests that many
people with heart disease don’t recognize
or act on early warning signs.
Heart attacks have several
major warning signs
Chest pain or discomfort.Upper body
pain or discomfort in the arms, back,
neck, jaw or upper stomach.Shortness of
breath.Nausea, lightheadedness or cold
sweats.Know the signs. Trust yourself. If
you have any of these symptoms or sense
something is just not right, call 911.
Heart disease aff ects
Many people think heart disease occurs
in old age, but it can aff ect people of all
ages. Even if you or your family members
are 30 years old or younger, you could be
aff ected, especially if you have risk factors
like high cholesterol or a family history
of heart disease. Keep in mind, each
child with a family member with FH has a
50 percent chance of inheriting the disorder,
which is present since birth. Untreated
individuals with FH have up to a 20 times
increased lifetime risk of early heart disease,
yet 90 percent of people with FH are undiagnosed,
according to the FH Foundation.
Children (even infants) can
have high cholesterol
Many adults are regularly screened for
high cholesterol, but it’s not as common
for children to be screened, although the
American Academy of Pediatrics recommends
that all children between the ages
of 9 to 11 be screened for high cholesterol.
Th ese guidelines also recommend screening
for FH as early as age 2 years if there is
a family history of high cholesterol, early
heart disease or known FH. Talk to your
children’s doctor about screening. FH is
characterized by an LDL-C level of over
190 mg/dL in adults, or over 160 mg/dL
in children. FH may also be confi rmed
with a genetic test, although this is not
necessary for diagnosis.
You can maintain a healthy
heart at any age
Being diagnosed with high cholesterol,
heart disease or even FH is not a death
sentence. Every person’s health considerations
are unique, but by working with
your doctor, you can come up with a plan
to help manage your health and maintain
the strongest heart possible. Th is
could include lifestyle changes and medications
to manage the LDL cholesterol
level in the blood. Th e key is to keep asking
questions, learn about your specifi c
health needs and stay dedicated to your
heart health plan.