Sunday, April 30, 2023

February, the month of the heart.. American month of the heart

February, the month of the heart

The 'American Heart Month' (American month of the heart) is an event supported by the federal government of the United States, which takes place every year in this country and is carried out with the purpose of remembering and focusing American citizens on heart care, including families, friends, and community (American Heart Association, 2019).

According to the same source, this event took place for the first time in February 1964 and was driven by the high mortality from cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, being at that time the leading cause of death in the world, with more 17.9 million deaths each year.

Currently, this initiative seeks to generate an impact beyond borders and promote heart health and the necessary care to enhance quality of life in other countries and settings.

Cardiovascular diseases:

According to the World Health Organization (2019), cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death worldwide.

These are a series of abnormalities of the heart and blood vessels and are the leading cause of death worldwide, mainly affecting low-income countries, since more than 80% of deaths occur in these places.

The same organization estimates that 17.5 million people died in 2012 from this cause, and it is estimated that between now and 2030, around 23.6 million will die from cardiovascular disease, especially heart disease and stroke.

Risk factors – cardiovascular diseases:

According to Alcedo & Angulo (2015), the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are divided into two groups:

a) Non-modifiable, which are those that, due to their characteristics, establish a relationship with the appearance or not of the disease, among which are age, sex and socioeconomic level.

- Age:

This is a factor that has a direct relationship with the onset of cardiovascular disease, because the older the age, the greater the risk of suffering from this condition, and CVDs are more common in older people, due to the loss of functions in the homeostatic systems of the human body.

- Gender:

Apart from age, gender is another non-modifiable factor linked to cardiovascular diseases. According to Cuevas; Segura et al. (as cited in Alcedo & Angulo, 2015) statistics indicate that men under 50 years of age are more likely to suffer from these pathologies than women of the same age, which may be related to the presence of estrogens in blood vessels and the characteristics of the cardiovascular system of women.

However, other studies conducted by Alfonzo, Bermejo & Segovia (as cited in Alcedo & Angulo, 2015) indicate that from the age of 55 women suffer more frequent heart attacks, heart failure and cardiovascular death, which may be associated, for example, , to menopause.

- Socioeconomic level:

This is a factor that is related to cardiovascular disease in terms of access to health services, economic resources for it and health conditions to which people may be exposed.

b) Modifiable, which can be smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, dyslipidemia, sedentary lifestyle, among others.

How to prevent cardiovascular diseases?

Taking into account Bejarano & Cuixart (2011), for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, it is necessary:

  • Modify lifestyles and isolation from harmful habits, such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Acquisition of healthy habits and self-care, such as healthy eating, physical activity and weight control.
  • Adhere to pharmacological treatments for the indicated cases (hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, etc), taking into account that they cannot always provide clinical results and therefore it is necessary to act on the other CVRFs to reduce the risk.