Heart disease is the leading cause of death across the globe. The term refers to a number of conditions that affect the heart, from genetic defects to infections. There is a lot of research surrounding heart disease, and one widely asked question: Can heart disease be cured?
Before we dive into the answer, let’s first take a look at some sobering statistics from the Centers for Disease Control:
- In the United States alone, more than 30 million people were diagnosed with heart disease.
- Nearly 650,000 Americans die from heart disease every year.
- Approximately every 40 seconds, an adult in the U.S. will have a heart attack.
Now back to the question at hand. Can heart disease be cured? The bottom line is no. Although heart disease cannot be cured, there are treatments that can manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of additional issues related to the disease.
Forms of Heart Disease
The most common form of heart disease is coronary artery disease — sometimes referred to as CAD. This is a blockage of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. The blockage creates a decrease in the flow of blood to the heart muscle, which reduces the supply of oxygen it needs to function properly.
People who suffer from CAD can experience angina, a form of chest pain often mistaken for a heart attack — or it could lead to the real deal.
Other forms of heart disease include:
- Heart arrhythmias
- Heart failure
- Heart valve disease
- Pericardial disease
- Congenital heart disease
Who is Most at Risk for Heart Disease?
There are several medical conditions and lifestyle choices that put people at a higher risk for heart disease. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are three key risk factors. People with diabetes, who are overweight, live a sedentary lifestyle, or drink excessively are also in jeopardy of a possible heart disease diagnosis.
Treatment for Heart Disease
As mentioned earlier, there is no cure for heart disease, but simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
For example, if someone quits smoking, their blood pressure and heart rate begin to improve within 20 minutes! Blood flow improves in about two to three weeks. A year without cigarettes reduces the risk of heart disease by half.
Other lifestyle changes include eating a diet clean of trans fats, low in saturated fats, cholesterol, and salt; exercising at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week; limiting alcohol intake, and reducing stress.
When to Seek Medical Help
Chest pain can be understandably scary. Some instances of chest pain may be harmless, but other times, chest pain may indicate a more serious issue. The expert medical staff at an American Family Care express clinic can provide quick diagnosis of chest pain; and potentially life-saving care.
To find a convenient AFC location near you, click this link: afcurgentcare.com.