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Morgan Ellis

The Risk Factors for Heart Disease in America

by Morgan Ellis

Over the course of this year, more than 859,000 people have died from heart disease. Not only that it accounts for $147 billion dollars in loss of productivity on the job from premature deaths. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Since last month was heart health awareness month, it is important to do a little recap of the risks associated with heart disease, so people can go into march and the remaining months of this year with the proper awareness and resources.


Adults who have diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease than their counterparts that do not. The high blood sugar from diabetes does damages to blood vessels within the heart. It also blocks blood vessels to the brain which cause a stroke.


and how can preventative measures be taken, so the risk factor is mitigated?

There are many programs that help people manage and prevent diabetes. For instance the National Diabetes Prevention Program, assists adults who are pre-diabetes or delay type 2 diabetes. Another organization called diabetes self-management education and support services focuses on helping people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels and reduce the need for medications and emergency room visits. Lastly Division of Diabetes Translation that works for the CDC, helps people prevent and manage diabetes by working with the federal state and community organizations to prevent type 2 diabetes.


Smoking and Second Hand Smoking Exposure

According to the CDC 1 in 4 deaths are caused by smoking or the exposure to it. Smoking damages the body by, damaging cells that line the blood vessels, increasing the build up of fatty cholesterol in blood vessels, and thickening and narrowing of blood vessels.

and how can preventative measures be taken, so the risk factor is mitigated?

There are organizations like the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, that strive to reduce deaths and heart disease that is caused from commercial smoking like tobacco. This organization just like many others tries to prevent young people from using tobacco, promote quitting smoking from many young adults, and goes on to address dismantling tobacco related disparities.

Obesity, Unhealthy Diet and Lack of Physical Activity

People who are overweight or obese have an increase risk of heart disease and stroke. Their risk factors include a higher LDL cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and low HDL cholesterol. In the United States just about 74% of adults have overweight or obesity. Lack of physical activity also leads to heart disease.


and how can preventative measures be taken, so the risk factor is mitigated?

CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity shares approaches that make healthy living easier for everyone, which can help people reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association also has great tips on how to lead healthy lifestyle.

Morgan Ellis photo.jpg

Morgan Ellis is a current undergraduate student at Spelman College who is pursing an English degree with the plans of becoming a physician. She is passionate about, enhancing the accessibility to healthcare, through writing, research and mentoring. This led her to join Emory University’s Health Career Collaborative where she mentored high school students, who have interest in the healthcare fields, by fostering their interest in medicine, science and public health. Over the summer, she was a part of - MGH Youth Neurology Research Program, where she worked with cutting edge technology, through interactive learning sessions in neurology. As a Senior Coordinator at Today's Patient Morgan strives to write, about medicine and medical issues and ensure that they get factual information to help them navigate the healthcare system

March 2023  page 12

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