Take care of your heart | SummitDaily.com

Take care of your heart

J. Thomas Svinarich, MD
Cardiology, Summit Medial

February is National Heart Month, and taking stock in your heart health is more relevant than ever. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of disability.

The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary heart disease, which often appears as a heart attack. In 2008, an estimated 770,000 Americans will have a new coronary attack, and about 430,000 will have a recurrent attack. The chance of developing coronary heart disease can be reduced by taking steps to prevent and control factors that put people at greater risk.

One of the primary lifestyle factors contributing to heart disease is tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. Quitting tobacco use is one of the most beneficial steps that someone can take for their heart health and for the health of their loved ones.

Colorado has seen a decrease in the number of people who use tobacco and now boasts a 17 percent smoking rate which is one of the lowest in the nation. Physicians are talking to their patients about quitting and are referring them to resources such as the Colorado QuitLine. The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act guarantees a smoke-free workplace to all employees. Childcare providers and schools are educating families about the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure, and Summit County’s hospital and Medical Office Building campus now has a tobacco-free campus policy in place to help promote a healing environment. We’re all doing our part to help Colorado tobacco users quit, but tobacco-related illnesses are still taking the lives of roughly 4,300 Coloradans each year.

Choose to treat your heart and the hearts of your loved ones to a life free from tobacco this Heart Month and every month. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways he or she can help you quit, including medication, free coaching through the Colorado Quitline (1-800-QUIT NOW), and support from friends and family.

Quitting tobacco is one of the best things you can do for your heart.