News / Health

Doctors Say Most Heart Disease Preventable

Doctors Say Most Heart Disease is Preventablei
X
March 06, 2013 11:29 PM
Coronary heart disease is the number one killer, worldwide, of men and women over the age of 60. But people of all ages succumb to heart attacks each year. And while death rates have declined in the U.S. and many western European countries, mortality is on the rise in the developing world. Yet most heart disease is preventable. VOA's Carol Pearson says that's a message doctors and advocacy groups are communicating so people the world over can live longer and healthier lives.
Carol Pearson
Coronary heart disease is the number one killer, worldwide, of men and women over the age of 60.  But people of all ages succumb to heart attacks each year. And while death rates have declined in the U.S. and many western European countries, mortality is on the rise in the developing world.  Yet most heart disease is preventable. 
 
No one would have guessed that Barbara Teng would have a heart attack.  She was not overweight.  She did not smoke.  But she also did not exercise.
 
“In 2004, the week after I turned 49, when I was on a business trip in Chicago, I had a major heart attack," she said. 
 
And that changed her life. She now exercises daily, monitors her heart health, and speaks at events held by Sister to Sister, a heart health program for women. Susan Gurley, the organization's director, says the message is urgent.
 
"Heart disease is 82 percent preventable and it is the leading cause of death for women," she said.
 
It's also a leading cause of death for men. The World Health Organization reports that more people die each year from heart disease than from any other cause. WHO says more than 60 percent of deaths from cardiovascular disease take place in low and middle-income countries. It says the heart disease pandemic is on the rise. 
 
Dr. Patrice Desvigne-Nickens is with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. She says the key to staying healthy is knowing your numbers. 
 
"Your weight, your blood cholesterol, blood sugar and your blood pressure are important numbers that can help you take action and reduce your risk," she said. 
 
She says a healthy lifestyle can prevent heart disease. 
 
"And the steps to take are simple: don’t smoke, maintain a healthy weight, exercise, know your numbers and talk to your physician and control these risks," she said. 
 
African-Americans are at higher-than-average risk for heart disease and stroke, according to Dr. Michelle Magee. 
 
"There's a very high prevalence of uncontrolled hypertension and also unrecognized hypertension so people don't even know they have it, which increases the risk for heart disease and stroke," she said. 
 
In the nation's capital,  Medstar Washington Hospital Center is trying to reach this population - like at this opening of an outreach program at a Washington barber shop.  Neighborhood barbers develop relationships with their clients. With the right training, they can play an important role in community health....for example helping their clients monitor their blood pressure.   
 
These programs operate on the premise that if people realize they are at risk for heart disease, they'll make lifestyle changes: lose weight, exercise, eat the right foods and keep in touch with a doctor.  

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid