11 February 2014
February marks American Heart Month—a time dedicated to raising awareness of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Heart disease, also referred to as cardiovascular disease, is a term used to describe numerous problems, many of which can be attributed to atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries slowly over time. Atherosclerosis can lead to narrowing of arteries and reduction in proper blood flow to the heart muscle.
Over the past decade, the death rate from heart disease has fallen about 39 percent in the United States, but according to the American Heart Association (AHA), the burden of the disease and number of patients with risk factors remains alarmingly high. The AHA recently released its 2014 report on cardiovascular disease in America, which revealed:
- Nearly 380,000 people die each year from heart disease, meaning it remains the number one cause of death in the United States. In fact, someone in the United States dies from heart disease about every 40 seconds
- In the United States, direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular disease total about $315.4 billion
- An estimated 31.9 million American adults (13.8%) have high total cholesterol levels—a major risk factor for atherosclerosis. Even more—71 million American adults—have high levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
- Approximately 27% of American adults have high levels of triglycerides—a type of fat found in the blood that is associated with cardiovascular disease
It’s also worth noting that heart disease doesn’t discriminate in men or women. With all of this in mind, AstraZeneca encourages you to consider Heart Month as an opportunity to remind family, friends and colleagues to focus on ways to keep a healthy heart. Begin by visiting our company’s Twitter and Facebook pages this month, where we will be posting photos like the one above for you to share, use the hashtag #HeartMonth and write why you keep a healthy heart. Here are a few healthy tips to consider:
- Replace processed snacks with fresh fruit and vegetables
- Avoid foods that contain high levels of saturated and trans fat and opt for nutrient-rich foods that contain vitamins, minerals and fiber
- Moderate your intake of alcohol and do not smoke
- Identify relaxing activities that help you to de-stress at the end of every day
- Know your numbers by monitoring your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol/triglyceride levels
- Talk to your doctor about your potential risk factors for heart disease and how you can work to manage them to strive for a healthy heart
At AstraZeneca, we are committed to the development of new medicines to address the world’s most critical unmet medical needs. AstraZeneca has decades of cardiovascular (CV) experience, and our vision for the future is to continue this legacy of delivering great medicines to patients through scientific research, innovation, and excellence. We also remain committed to helping address unmet needs for health care providers, patients and caregivers affected by cardiovascular diseases.