ADPH: Heart disease is state’s leading cause of death

Published: Feb. 6, 2022 at 4:26 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 6, 2022 at 7:07 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Every 36 seconds one person dies of heart disease. It’s an alarming statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports around 659,000 deaths a year.

Heart disease is the single leading cause of death in the state, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“It’s the number one killer of all people,” said Dr. Wes Stubblefield with ADPH.

Heart disease can lead to some serious complications, like a heart attack.

“Those blood vessels that supply blood to the heart are like blood vessels in our arms or legs,” Stubblefield said. “They can get clotted with plaque, and when those blood vessels are clotted off to a particular point, blood can’t get to the muscle, and part of the muscle can die, and that’s what a heart attack is.”

The doctor stressed it is important to know your family history, as heart disease can be passed on. Still, there are some actions you can take right now to lesson you chances.

If you’re diabetic, make sure you’re keeping your blood sugar under control.

Stubblefield added that you should really put down cigarettes and quit smoking altogether.

Additionally, he said it’s important to exercise and watch your weight.

“If you find yourself unable to exercise, your exercise tolerance is going down, you maybe have some tightness in your chest when you’re moving around vigorously, you’re just not feeling like yourself,” said Stubblefield. “Of course, you want to get those things checked out.”

Stubblefield recommends you get your cholesterol checked on a regular basis, which can be done at your primary physician.

“The problem is that in Alabama, and other places as well, there’s a shortage of primary care physicians,” he said. “A lot of younger, healthy individuals just don’t go to the doctor regularly.”

If you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack, ADPH says you should call 911 immediately.

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