Who is Affected?
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  Who is Affected by Heart Disease?

Unfortunately, heart disease can affect people at any age and from all walks of life. It is the number one killer in the United States, causing about 2,500 deaths daily in 2005. However, while the disease does not discriminate based on age or status, it is more likely to be found in certain groups of people than others. Since the disease is so prevalent in the United States, it is worth talking with your healthcare provider to determine if you are particularly at risk for developing heart disease.

One form of heart disease that unfortunately affects many people of younger ages is congenital heart disease. Congenital heart disease is a result of the malformation of the heart during the prenatal stages. This disease can lead to serious complications in those it afflicts. One frightening statistic shows that approximately seven out of every 1,000 babies born will suffer from congenital heart disease. This disease has been linked to a number of factors, from chromosomal abnormalities, genes, and the environment. Many complications from congenital heart disease, including valve or septum damage, can be repaired surgically or treated with medications. Many of these defects are treated at birth or within the first few years of the afflicted child’s life. Other complications from congenital heart disease may not show up until later years.

Most other groups of people who will be afflicted by heart disease are influenced by similar factors, such as the environment and genetics. One of the biggest influences on who will be affected by heart disease, however, is lifestyle. People who are older, under higher stress levels, and who do not maintain a healthy lifestyle are more likely to suffer from a form of heart disease than people who lead healthier lives. It is important, therefore, to keep in close communication with your healthcare provider if you feel that you are at risk for developing heart disease, as early treatment and prevention are key.

If you are under high levels of stress, are overweight, or have high blood pressure, talk with your doctor about making some changes in your life, or perhaps about new drug treatment therapies that may assist in preventing heart disease.