DENVER (KDVR) — February is American Heart Month, a time when local doctors hope to raise awareness about the No. 1 killer of Americans: heart disease.
Dr. Chirag Chauhan is a structural interventional cardiologist with Denver Heart at Swedish and Rose medical centers. He says the deadly disease is far too under-recognized.
“Only about 50% of patients know their heart is a problem or could become a problem based on their history,” Chauhan said.
Chauhan says generally, men are at higher risk for heart disease starting at age 40 and women at 50. However, some patients have shown him otherwise.
“I’ve had 26-year-olds come in with heart attacks because their family history was so robust and it’s sad and even difficult for us to know why it happens but it definitely happens,” Chauhan said.
Aside from understanding and sharing your family history with your doctor, you can decrease your risk for heart disease at home by not smoking.
“If you look at the risk factor, one, two and three in my mind is smoking,” Chauhan said.
Other things doctors want the community to observe and control are: eating lean meats, exercising and coping with stress.
“Car accidents, death of a child or a parent, even sexual harassment,” Chauhan said, adding, “All of those have been shown in studies to increase risk of heart disease.”