Talk Ten Tuesdays is devoting the month of February to this critically important topic.
It is asked to perform its signature task some 100,000 times a day, circulating 2,000 gallons of fluid daily through 60,000 miles of piping to sustain functions ranging from doing taxes to running marathons – and if well-maintained, it can run for 100 years without breaking down even once.
There is no known machine that can compare to the human heart.
It’s why the long-running weekly Internet radio broadcast Talk Ten Tuesdays will devote each of its four February editions to heart health, featuring a who’s who of subject-matter experts in cardiology, coding, and clinical documentation improvement (CDI) throughout.
“The importance of the heart can even be gleaned from the dictionary, which gives the word more than 15 distinct definitions – it can refer to ‘a generous disposition,’ ‘courage or enthusiasm,’ ‘one’s innermost character, feelings, or inclinations,’ or even ‘the essential or most vital part of something,’” Talk Ten Tuesdays Executive Producer and ICD10monitor Publisher Chuck Buck said. “What better way to recognize the importance of the heart by focusing on ways to make it healthier?”
Federal officials are clearly in agreement. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last year assembled a comprehensive American Heart Month toolkit, with resources available for healthcare professionals, public health professionals, and individuals and patients, with a collection of quick links to quizzes, social media messages, vital facts, and more: cdc.gov/heartmonth
It’s abundantly obvious why such focus is placed on the heart: 1 in every 3 deaths in the United States is related to cardiovascular disease. What’s more, 1 in 5 adults who died from cardiovascular disease in 2019 were under the age of 65.
The CDC reports that the most common type of heart disease in the U.S. is coronary artery disease (CAD), which affects the blood flow to the heart; decreased blood flow can cause a heart attack. What can make the condition so insidious is that the warning signs can be easy or even impossible to miss. Many times, CAD patients won’t be diagnosed until they’re already in crisis, experiencing a heart attack, heart failure, or an arrhythmia.
At that point, the signs become unmistakable. For a heart attack, symptoms can include chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath. For arrhythmia, fluttering feelings in the chest (palpitations) are a telltale sign. And for heart failure, shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins will often present.
Fortunately, the risk factors for heart disease are likewise unmistakable – and often avoidable. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are three key ones, and about half of all Americans have at least one. Diabetes, obesity, poor diet, inactivity, and excessive alcohol use can also contribute.