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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More