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Show Your Heart Some Love and Live Longer

When you think of February, images of hearts probably come to mind thanks to the celebration of Valentine’s Day on the 14th. In addition to emotional attention given to your significant other, friends, and family — it is your own heart you should show some love to at this time. February is American Heart Month – a federally designated awareness month to raise consciousness about heart health.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death across the globe. Every 42 seconds, someone has a heart attack, and each minute, in the United States, someone dies from a heart disease-related event. More than 17.3 million deaths are related to heart issues each year — a number expected to rise to more than 23.6 million within the next ten years.

What Is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is a blanket term that refers to several different heart conditions. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which could lead to heart attacks. Most of the time, and for most people, the first sign or symptom of heart disease is chest pain. 

Heart attacks are often thought of as sudden, but the issue that causes them develops over time. A substance called plaque builds up inside of the arteries, and causes the arteries to narrow, which reduces blood flow to the heart, and eventually triggers a heart attack.

Risk Factors For Heart Disease

Almost half of all Americans (47 percent) have at least one risk factor for heart disease. However, some risk factors cannot be controlled, such as family history.

On the risk list are: 

  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes Or Pre-Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity

Steps to a Healthy Heart

While heart disease is not curable, the good news is that it can be treated and possibly prevented. Here are some preventative measures to help reduce your risk of heart disease.

• Eat a heart-healthy diet
• Stay active
• Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke
• Control your cholesterol and blood pressure
• If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation
• Manage stress

Make a Commitment to Your Heart Health

As you continue to set new goals this year, make a commitment to yourself to keep your heart healthy. The first step is to take action. The Any Lab Test Now® Heart Health Panel provides an affordable and convenient overview of your heart health status. This panel can be used to provide a baseline assessment of your cardiovascular health, to help you and your doctor evaluate and monitor possible risks. There are four components provided within the Any Lab Test Now® Heart Health Panel. 

They include:

  • Lipoprotein Particle Protein Basic (LPP) – Overall cardiovascular risk assessment
  • Complete Metabolic Panel (CMP) – Evaluate the body’s electrolyte balance and the status of major body organs
  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP) High Sensitivity – Inflammation marker used to evaluate the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Homocysteine – Evaluate the risk of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and other cardiovascular diseases

New Year, Better You!

While various heart problems may be inherited, many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices. Once you get your test results, you can work with a doctor on a plan to treat and improve the health of your heart. Between work, social activities, and taking care of a family, it may be easy to forget to take care of yourself.  However, it’s important to make sure your heart’s health is top-notch, especially if you’re the heart of the household.

Your cardiovascular system is important for your quality of life, so make February the month you take charge of your habits and make an improvement in your health. Any Lab Test Now® has more than 200 convenient locations across the country to help you Take Control of Your Health®. You can make an appointment online, or by phone, or just walk in.

Click here to find a location near you and start loving your heart and living your best life. 

Heart Health Month: Separating Facts from Fiction

February is Heart Health Month

This is a time to raise awareness about heart disease, historically the number one cause of death among Americans. Heart disease can lead to heart attacks, heart failure, and stroke. This year, the observance takes on a more urgent tone due to COVID-19 and the complications associated with the virus.

Know the Numbers:

  • Heart disease kills more people than all forms of cancer combined.
  • Eighty-three percent of Americans believe that heart attacks can be prevented but aren’t motivated to do anything.
  • Seventy-two percent of Americans don’t consider themselves at risk for heart disease.
  • Fifty-eight percent of Americans have not attempted to improve their heart health.

COVID-19 and Cardiovascular Health

Moving forward, those numbers mentioned above may significantly increase due to COVID-19. There is evidence that some patients who have recovered from COVID-19 may show signs of heart damage, even weeks or months after feeling better, according to two studies published in JAMA Cardiology. This damage can occur even if they didn’t have an underlying heart disease or weren’t sick enough to be hospitalized.

These complications can include myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle. The concern is that it could lead to an increase in heart failure in the future.

Doctors are also worried that people who have a pre-existing heart condition may have put off being properly monitored out of fear of being exposed to the virus during a medical appointment.

Thanks to the stress of the last year combined with an increase in the number of people who packed on extra pounds during the pandemic, the concern about cardiovascular disease is higher than ever.

Heart Disease Myths

As part of Heart Health Month, it is important to separate fact from fiction. Here are some of the most common myths about heart disease.

Myth: Women don’t need to be concerned about heart disease.

Reality: Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women over age 65.

Myth: Heart disease is for old people.

Reality: As early as childhood and adolescence, plaque can start accumulating in the arteries and later lead to clogged arteries. One in three Americans have cardiovascular disease, but not all of them are senior citizens. Even young and middle-aged people can develop heart problems — especially now that obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other risk factors are becoming more common at a younger age.

Myth: You should wait until middle age to worry about cholesterol.

Reality: The American Heart Association recommends you start getting your cholesterol checked every five years starting at age 20. It’s a good idea to start having a cholesterol test even earlier if your family has a history of heart disease. Children in these families can have high cholesterol levels, putting them at increased risk for developing heart disease as adults.

Prevention

An estimated 80 percent of all cardiovascular disease cases can be prevented. The key is maintaining healthy habits such as exercise and diet. Here is a closer look at the areas you should focus on.

Exercise – Federal guidelines suggest 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five times a week. Some of the best workouts include swimming, cycling, rowing, treadmill running, and powerwalking. Wearing an activity tracker is a good way to encourage you to increase your daily movement. About 10,000 steps a day is a standard target. Other ideas include yard work like weeding and raking, parking your car in places farther away to encourage walking, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.

Diet – Adding foods associated with heart-healthy benefits, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and healthy oils like olive oil are highly encouraged. These foods are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that lower blood pressure and LDL [bad] cholesterol, reduce the risk of diabetes, and help maintain a healthy weight, all of which can lower your risk of heart disease.

Screening – It is important to get checked for your risk of heart disease. You can get regular blood pressure monitoring or cholesterol checks to monitor levels. You can also take a deeper dive into your heart health with a Heart Health Panel from Any Lab Test Now®.

This panel can be used as a baseline assessment of your heart health and possible risk. There are four components provided within the Heart Health Panel.

  • Lipoprotein Particle Protein Basic (LPP) – Overall cardiovascular risk assessment.
  • Complete Metabolic Panel (CMP) – Evaluate the body’s electrolyte balance and the status of major body organs.
  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP) High Sensitivity – Inflammation marker used to evaluate the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Homocysteine – Evaluate the risk of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Results are returned quickly, so you can get started on a path to better health should your test reveal any signs of heart disease.

Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now® wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including testing for heart disease.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for your lab testing needs. Each of our 185+ stores are sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus outbreak. We are here to help.

Find your closest Any Lab Test Now store at www.anylabtestnow.com.