Back to Top Skip to main content

Heart Health Month: Stopping the number-one killer

Going to the gym regularly can certainly improve heart health. So can taking a walk or using the stairs instead of the elevator. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Lancaster) Going to the gym regularly can certainly improve heart health. So can taking a walk or using the stairs instead of the elevator. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Lancaster)

Recommended Content:

Physical Activity | Heart Health

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — As a cardiologist, the overall health of my patients is my priority and heart health a major focus. Cardiovascular disease, commonly known as heart disease, is often misunderstood to be a disease that only affects those in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. The alarming truth is it can also impact fit and healthy service members in their 30s and 40s. When I treated a young service member for chest discomfort after he had passed physical tests with ease, I witnessed his dismay as he was told he’d have to have a stent placed in an artery.

Dr. Jamalah Munir, a cardiologist at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in northern Virginia, encourages people to take command of their heart health and decrease the risk for heart disease – the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. (Fort Belvoir Community Hospital courtesy photo)Dr. Jamalah Munir, a cardiologist at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in northern Virginia, encourages people to take command of their heart health and decrease the risk for heart disease – the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. (Fort Belvoir Community Hospital courtesy photo)

The good news is heart disease is treatable and often also preventable. Throughout February, the Military Health System is dedicated to raising awareness and encouraging service members, veterans, and their family members to take care of their powerhouse organ.

Heart disease can be influenced by family history, lifestyle, and behaviors. As the number-one killer of Americans, heart disease affects roughly one in four people, and it’s not slowing down. With an increasing trend toward sedentary lifestyles and a growing number of processed foods in the American diet, an obesity epidemic has taken hold in western society. That makes it more important than ever to be proactive and take command of your own health through prevention.

Prevention through education and dedication is critical in the fight against heart disease. Many of its risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, are preventable or controllable. Minor changes in our lifestyles and choices can make a positive change in our overall heart health. Incorporating daily exercise and healthy eating, as well as making small changes to our routines, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator and reducing sugar, salt, and fat intake, can make a significant improvement to our health and happiness.

Because heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, we encourage everyone to maintain routine check-up with your doctor, maintain a healthy weight, and properly manage any chronic problems such as high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure.

The MHS is committed to continuing to educate service members, veterans, and their families about the risks and warning signs of this dangerous disease. Wear Red is on Friday, February 2, and join us as we raise awareness about heart health and keep this conversation going. Small lifestyle changes that become habits can go a long way toward reducing your risk of developing heart disease. Now is the time to take command of your health.

You also may be interested in...

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens Attributable to Various Illnesses and Injuries, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016

Infographic
6/19/2017
Did you know  … ? In 2016, essential hypertension accounted for 52,586 encounters for health care among 29,612 active component service members in the U.S. Armed Forces. Of all cardiovascular diseases, essential hypertension is by far the most common specific condition diagnosed among active duty service members. Untreated hypertension increases the risks of subsequent ischemic heart disease (heart attack), cerebrovascular disease (stroke), and kidney failure. CHART: Healthcare burdens attributable to cardiovascular diseases, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016 Major condition: •	For all other cardiovascular the number of medical encounters was 70,781, Rank 29, number of individuals affected was 35,794 with a rank of 30. The number of bed days was 4,285 with a rank of 21. •	For essential hypertension the number of medical encounters was 52,586, rank 35, number of individuals affected was 29,612 with a rank of 35. The number of bed days was 151 with a rank of 86. •	For cerebrovascular disease the number of medical encounters was 7,772, rank 79, number of individuals affected was 1,708, with a rank of 96. The number of bed days was 2,107 with a rank of 32. •	For ischemic heart disease the number of medical encounters was 6,629, rank 83, number of individuals affected 2,399 with a rank of 87. The number of bed days was 1,140 with a rank of 42. •	For inflammatory the number of medical encounters was 2,221, rank 106, number of individuals affected 1,302 with a rank of 97. The number of bed days was 297 with a rank of 72. •	For rheumatic heart disease the number of medical encounters was 319, rank 125, number of individuals affected 261, with a rank of 121. The number of bed days was 2 with a rank of 133. Learn more about healthcare burdens attributable to various diseases and injuries by visiting Health.mil/MSMRArchives. #LoveYourHeart Infogaphic graphic features transparent graphic of a man’s heart illuminated within his chest.

This infographic documents healthcare burdens attributable to cardiovascular diseases among active component, U.S. Armed Forces in 2016.

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Men's Health | Heart Health

Update: Exertional Rhabdomyolysis Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012 – 2016

Infographic
4/4/2017
Rhabdomyolysis is characterized by the rapid breakdown of overworked intracellular muscle, skeletal muscle cells and the release of toxic fibers into the bloodstream. It is a significant threat to U.S. military members during physical exertion, particularly under heat stress. This report summarizes numbers, rates, trends, risk factors and locations of occurrences for exertional heat injuries, including exertional rhabdomyolysis for 2012-2016. In 2016, there were 525 incident diagnoses of rhabdomyolysis between 2013 and 2016 rates increased 46.2 percent – 69.7 percent of cases occurred during May through September. Risk factors for exertional rhabdomyolysis include being male, younger than 20 years of age, black, non-Hispanic, low level of physical fitness, prior heat injury and exertion during warmer months. Additional information about the causes and prevention of exertional rhabdomyolysis can be found in the MSMR at www.Health.mil/MSMR

Rhabdomyolysis is characterized by the rapid breakdown of overworked intracellular muscle, skeletal muscle cells and the release of toxic fibers into the bloodstream. It is a significant threat to U.S. military members during physical exertion, particularly under heat stress. This report summarizes numbers, rates, trends, risk factors and locations of occurrences for exertional heat injuries, including exertional rhabdomyolysis for 2012-2016.

Recommended Content:

Physical Activity

Update: Exertional Hyponatremia U.S. Armed Forces, 2001-2016

Infographic
4/4/2017
Exertional Hyponatremia occurs during or up to 24 hours after prolonged physical activity. It is defined by a serum, plasma or blood sodium concentration below 135 millequivalents per liter. This infographic provides an update on Exertional Hyponatremia among U.S. Armed Forces, information on service members at high risk. Exertional hyponatremia can result from loss of sodium and/or potassium as well as relative excess of body water. There were 1,519 incident diagnoses of exertional hyponatremia among active component service members from 2001 through 2016. 86.8 percent were diagnosed and treated without having to be hospitalized. 2016 represented a decrease of 23.3 percent from 2015. In 2016, there were 85 incident diagnoses of exertional hyponatremia among active component service members and 77.6 percent of exertional hyponatremia cases affected males.  The annual rate was higher among females. Service members age 40 and over were most affected by exertional hyponatremia. High risk service members of exertional hyponatremia were: •	Females •	Service members aged 19 years or younger •	White, non-Hispanic and Asian/ Pacific Islander service members •	Recruit Trainees •	Marine Corps members Learn more at www.Health.mil/MSMR

Exertional Hyponatremia occurs during or up to 24 hours after prolonged physical activity. It is defined by a serum, plasma or blood sodium concentration below 135 millequivalents per liter. This infographic provides an update on Exertional Hyponatremia among U.S. Armed Forces, information on service members at high risk. Exertional hyponatremia can result from loss of sodium and/or potassium as well as relative excess of body water.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Physical Activity

What is Rhabdomyolysis?

Infographic
3/21/2017
Although regular exercise is good for the body, too much physical activity can do more harm than good. Rhabdomyolysis is the rapid breakdown of overworked muscle cells, following the release of toxic fibers into the bloodstream, causing many complications during physical exertion. This infographic provides information about the symptoms of Rhabdomyolysis, prevention and treatment.  How to avoid: •	Thoughtfully plan out your exercise routines •	Drink adequate amounts of fluid •	Minimize your workout time in extreme heat conditions How to treat: •	IV fluids/ fluid replacement •	Urinary Alkalization •	Blood transfusion  Symptoms of Rhabdomyolysis •	Difficulty in arm motion / trouble lifting objects •	Muscle weakness, muscle swelling and leg fatigue •	Fever, confusion, loss of consciousness •	Nausea and vomiting •	Dark colored urine or lack of urine  Learn more at Health.mil/MSMR

Rhabdomyolysis is the rapid breakdown of overworked muscle cells, following the release of toxic fibers into the bloodstream, causing many complications during physical exertion. This infographic provides information about the symptoms of Rhabdomyolysis, prevention and treatment.

Recommended Content:

Physical Activity | Summer Safety

12 Days of Fitmas

Infographic
12/14/2016
infographic showing 12 exercises you can do from now until Christmas

Want to stay in shape over the holidays, but not sure where to start? Guard Your Health has you covered with its 12 Days of Fitmas challenge – a daily dose of quick exercises you can fit into your hectic schedule! #MerryFitmas

Recommended Content:

Physical Activity

Heart Disease and Its Effects on Service Members

Infographic
6/8/2016
infographic about heart disease and its effect on service members

Cardiovascular disease comprises disorders of the heart and circulatory system including coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease. This infographic provides data on the risk factors for cardiovascular disease among military members base on diagnostic codes in the electronic health records of service members during a 10-year surveillance period.

Recommended Content:

Men's Health | Heart Health

The ABC's of Heart Health

Infographic
2/22/2016
ABC's of Heart Health Infographic

Bring awareness to the risks of heart disease and ways to stay heart healthy.

Recommended Content:

Heart Health

Take Charge of Your Heart Health

Infographic
2/16/2016
Infographic for Heart Health Month about Regular Checkups

Take Charge of Your Heart Health with Regular Checkups

Recommended Content:

Heart Health

Keep Your Heart Healthy This Valentine's Day

Infographic
2/11/2016
Keep Your Heart Healthy this Valentine's Day

4 ways to keep your heart healthy this Valentine's Day

Recommended Content:

Heart Health

Be Heart Smart

Infographic
2/1/2016
Be Heart Smart Infographic

Be More Active, Avoid Tobacco, Choose Better Nutrition

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Preventive Health

Practice Healthy Living Habits

Infographic
1/19/2016
Infographic listing 5 key healthy habits for the new year

A list of healthy living habits you can take on in 2016.

Recommended Content:

Operation Live Well | Nutrition | Physical Activity | Tobacco-Free Living
Showing results 1 - 11 Page 1 of 1

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing: Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.