COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It’s time for a pop quiz. It is American Heart Month. So I took to the streets to ask some of you a few key questions about heart disease. Then we went to Lexington Cardiology for the answers.
Since heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, you would think we’d know all about the disease. But a national survey reports six out of ten Americans fail at knowing pertinent information about cardiovascular issues. For example, which kills more people? Heart disease or cancer?
Dr. Heather Currier of Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery says, “Heart disease. There’s a new study that shows more than 46 percent of adults have some form of cardiovascular disease.”
While 7 out of 10 Americans recognize heart disease as the number one killer of both men and women, a national survey finds people still worry more about cancer than they do a heart attack.
Currier adds, “But cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, we see a lot of it in the news, billboards, charities, but it’s cardiovascular disease that’s really the number one killer for Americans."
In fact, cardiovascular disease kills more people than those killed by the top eight cancers combined.
Another question to make sure you know is the age at which people should worry about heart disease.
Dr. Currier says, “Typically we say when you’re in your 40s and higher. However, you really need to pay close attention when you have a first-degree relative meaning a parent, an uncle, grandma or grandpa who had a heart attack at an early age because we have seen people come in the ER with heart attacks in their 20s.”
And do you is it’s possible to know when you are having a heart attack because there are always clear signs?
"About six percent of will actually have a normal EKG at the time they present. So, unfortunately, there isn’t tried and true ‘if you have this’ definitely you’re having a heart attack,” says Currier.
Take a look at the attached graphic by the American Heart Association. It lists the most common signs of a heart attack: pain or discomfort in the chest, lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting, jaw, neck or back pain, discomfort or pain the arm or shoulder, and shortness of breath.
And test your own knowledge of cardiovascular disease by taking this Lexington Medical Center quiz by clicking here, which focuses on blood pressure, heart disease and heart attacks.