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Watch: Dr. William Witmer discuss your heart and your health

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Heart disease accounts for approximately one out of every four deaths in the United States each year

In 2020, that equated to more than 655,000 Americans.

While family history and age can contribute to the onset of heart conditions, lifestyle choices and stress can be contributing factors as well.

Dr. William Witmer, a cardiologist with Aurora BayCare Cardiology, participated in a Facebook LIVE discussion during heart month to talk about heart disease and heart health.

“Today, we still are trying to spread the message that heart disease is the number one killer among women and men,” says Witmer. “We want people to improve their lifestyles … and also help people understand the symptoms of heart disease and pay attention to those so they can go get diagnosed and treated.”

Heart disease is not just a heart attack. The term includes a gamut of different illnesses, according to Witmer.

Heart disease can involve blockages in the arteries, rhythm conditions, valve conditions or issues with the heart muscle.

“About 140 million people at any point in time in the United States have heart disease, so that’s about 48 percent of the population,” Witmer says. “There are about 700,000 deaths in the U.S. from heart disease each year.”

To put that into perspective, just over 618,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

“People are looking at the numbers for COVID-19 so we can think of heart disease as a yearly pandemic in a way,” he adds.

It’s a big issue, but one that we can also control.

During the discussion, Witmer reviewed the five most common risk factors of heart disease, the symptoms of heart disease we should recognize, and ways we can all improve our lifestyles to reduce our chances of dying or being hospitalized with heart conditions. Watch the video to learn more.

Published: Thursday, February 24, 2022
Author: Alysha Schertz