As you know, February is American Heart Month. It is also Black History month, and if you are a black person, you probably know that you are at a higher risk for heart disease. Other strong risk factors for heart disease are high alcohol consumption and smoking.
Heart disease is usually associated with advanced age, however, researchers have found that roughly 4% of those diagnosed nationally are between the ages of 18 and 44. Researchers have also found a recent rise in new cases of heart disease in young adults across the United States, which they attribute to the use of substances such as tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, amphetamine or cannabis.
A study published in Heart journal found that individuals with higher alcohol consumption and those who smoked were more likely to suffer from premature heart disease, compared with light drinkers and those who didn’t smoke. The findings also revealed that those who frequently used recreational substances — particularly cocaine and marijuana — and those who regularly used four or more substances, had elevated odds of developing premature heart disease, compared with those who didn’t use recreational substances.
In addition to smokers and heavy drinkers, 13% of cocaine users developed premature heart disease, compared to 3% of non-users. Researchers define premature heart disease as having a heart attack or stroke before age 55 in men and before 65 in women. If you experience any of these events before the age of 40, you are said to have extremely premature heart disease.
I don’t think anyone wants to fall into either category. We want to remain as healthy as we can for as long as we can. So, during this Heart Awareness Month, why not take the necessary steps to show your heart some love? You know what you need to do–watch your weight and if you use any of the substances above, quit. But this is sometimes easier said than done. So, why not take charge of your health today? Fill out the form below and let’s get you on your way to optimum health.
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