February is American Heart Month, dedicated to the serious matter of monitoring and taking care of our beating hearts. This is important because while heart disease has claimed fewer lives in recent years, it is still the nation’s number one killer — responsible for some 614,000 deaths annually.
Heart disease, including coronary artery disease, heart attack, congestive heart failure and congenital heart disease, is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. CDC statistics show that approximately 600,000 people die of heart disease each year, which accounts for one in four deaths nationwide. Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year. This total includes the cost of healthcare services, medications and lost productivity.
While smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and lack of exercise are well-known contributing factors to the occurrence of heart disease, drug abuse—including excessive alcohol consumption—has been linked to coronary arterial disease. It is estimated that one in four people in Western nations have engaged in recreational drug use at some time in their lives.
The Bronx Chronicle urges its readers to be heart healthy this month and throughout the year.