Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Coronary heart disease is the most prevalent form, and it commonly results in a heart attack. Risk factors include a variety of conditions and factors, such as high cholesterol, obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the statistics are sobering. Every 25 seconds, an American has a coronary event, and every minute an American will die from one.
Fernando Arzola, M.D., Cardiologist at Summit Medical Center in Van Buren, recently joined the hospital staff in hopes of helping fight these statistics in the more rural areas. “Heart and vascular diseases are where medicine can have the most impact. When things go well for your patients it is very rewarding,” said Dr. Arzola.
Since, Dr. Arzola entered the field of medicine more than 20 years ago, treatments and outcomes for heart disease and heart attacks have improved. “Now we see improved treatment of heart attacks, heart failure and vascular disease with less surgery and improved quality of life and survival for heart failure patients,” added Dr. Arzola.
The Good News
There is hope, even for those who have experienced and survived a heart attack. Preventing heart disease, stroke or a heart attack is a rather simple formula:
• If you smoke, quit immediately.
• Exercise regularly.
• Stick to a healthy, low-sodium and low-fat diet.
• Visit your physician regularly.
• Be aware of heart attack symptoms (See chart on left).
When in doubt, call 9-1-1.
Stacy Caldarera is the Public Relations and Marketing Director for Summit Medical Center in Van Buren, Ark., and Heather Meyers is the Marketing and Communications Manager for Health Management Associates, Inc.