Why teens should care about their heart health – Bucks County Courier Times

Elizabeth Russell| Central Bucks High School West

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Heart disease refers to a grouping of several different conditions. It is defined as a type of disease that affects the heart or surrounding blood vessels. It can describe a range of conditions from blood vessel disease to heart rhythm problems to heart infection.

I was curious as to how heart disease could affect teenagers and what we as a youth should be doing to look out for our own health. I interviewed my friend and neighbor, Dr. Michael Mooradd, whois a cardiologist.

I wanted to know the significance of heart disease on my age group and what signs myself and peers should be looking out for. I wondered what could be preventative and what symptoms to look out for.

Mooradd explained that the main advice that he shares is, Be aware of your family history, live a healthy lifestyle, no smoking, and encourage your family as well to follow a healthy lifestyle and seek treatment if they have any symptoms.

I was naively under the impression that my age group could not be affected by heart disease, which I believed only afflicted the elderly.

Mooradd shared that one of the biggest tragedies of heart disease is when people are afraid to seek medical assistance after they start to notice the symptoms and they do not seek the help that they need.

The symptoms include, but are not limited to, chest pain, left arm pain, throat pain, and jaw pain. Men and women exude different symptoms and sometimes women experience a shortness of breath.

The symptoms differ from person to person, but most experience these symptoms.

If you or anyone in your family have these symptoms you should consult a doctor for an evaluation.

There is also a genetic component to heart disease, so understanding your family history can help to inform if you should be more cautious in looking out for the signs and symptoms.

If people know that they have a family history they should focus on exercise, a healthy diet, and no smoking. People aged 50 and up are at a higher risk of heart disease.

Prevention can be a key component in helping to prevent heart disease in ones future. Mooradd explained that preventative measures can be taking such as practicinga healthy diet, regularly exercising, and controlling your blood pressure if you have hypertension. There are also preventative medications that can be taken, such as medication that helps to lower the bodys level of cholesterol.

Long term, heart disease needs to be caught early, and if it is caught early there is no damage or minimal damage. Mooradd said doctors try to educate the community that the first goal is prevention. Even if they do not catch it early on, it can still be treated.

Teens and other adolescents my age are not at high risk for heart disease, but they still need to look out for symptoms and track their family history.

Help encourage both you and your parents to practice living a healthy lifestyle and getting the exercise that you need.

Prevention and recognizing the symptoms and knowing when to consult a doctor are they key to living a healthy life and avoiding heart disease.

Elizabeth Russell is a junior at Central Bucks High School West. This is her first year writing for Reality.

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Why teens should care about their heart health - Bucks County Courier Times

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