• 54°

Be aware of your heart’s health

Over the last few months my family has had its scare of health issues involving my dad. He found out late last year that he had blockages in arteries to his heart. One was partially blocked and the other completely blocked.

Stents were successfully inserted during surgery in December to correct the partial blockage, but another surgery this week to clear the completely blocked artery was not as successful and he may have to go in for a third surgery in the near future.

Such an ordeal makes one think about health situations and the ramifications of not living a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise.

February is “Heart Month” for the American Heart Association and the perfect time to consider becoming more health conscious.

Here are some sobering statistics from the American Hearth Association:

• Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for more than 17.3 million deaths per year, a number that is expected to grow to more than 23.6 million by 2030.

• In 2013, cardiovascular deaths represented 31 percent of all global deaths, with 80 percent of those deaths taking place in low- and middle-income countries.

• Nearly 801,000 people in the U.S. died from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases in 2013. That’s about one of every three deaths in America.

• About 2,200 Americans die each day from these diseases, one every 40 seconds.

• Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

• About 85.6 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke.

• Direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular diseases and stroke total more than $316.6 billion. That includes health expenditures and lost productivity.

• Nearly half of all black adults have some form of cardiovascular disease, 48 percent of women and 46 percent of men.

• Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the world and the leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 370,000 Americans a year.

• Heart disease accounts for 1 in 7 deaths in the U.S.

• Someone in the U.S. dies from heart disease about once every 84 seconds

My dad, fortunately, is home recovering from his second surgery on his heart and his issues were detected in time. Unfortunately, many American men ignore the signs of a heart attack or stroke.

Don’t be one of those who wait until it is too late. Know the signs of a stroke or heart attack.

Heart attack warning signs:

• Chest discomfort

• Shortness of breath

• Discomfort in other areas of the body

Stroke warning signs:

• Face drooping

• Arm weakness

• Speech difficulty

If any of these warning signs are present call 911 immediately do not wait.

There are also ways to prevent heart disease and stroke. Many know that diet and exercise are the keys. It is proven that ladies will do more to take care of themselves then men will. I’m as guilty as the next guy when it comes to getting a check-up or “eating right.” But guys need to take responsibility for their health, especially those such as myself who are at a higher risk for a heart attack or stroke.

If not for my Mom, I know my Dad would not have gone in to get himself checked out and his blockage would have likely lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Make that call and get that appointment with a physician. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for the ones who care the most about you.

And for more on the American Heart Association, visit their website at www.heart.org.

Rob Sigler is managing editor of The Oxford EAGLE. Contact him at rob.sigler@oxfordeagle.com.