In data released by the American Heart Association (AHA) in 2019, almost half of the American adult population have some type of cardiovascular disease caused by unhealthy lifestyle habits such as inactivity and smoking. These activities lead to obesity and high blood pressure amongst many others that affect heart health. This information needs to be spread more through cardiology websites and other online channels.
This information is also necessary not just to the general public, but to medical practitioners. Why? It’s because misdiagnosis is high amongst cardiac patients. Despite the advances in cardiac disease diagnosis, this remains to be a cause of concern since the complexity of symptoms is not always easy for doctors to diagnose at first.
1 out of 3 heart attack patients are misdiagnosed
High blood pressure can be indicative of a heart attack, but it may sometimes be difficult to recognize it as the symptoms that lead to it can be complicated, caused by other conditions and factors such as obesity and addiction to nicotine.
According to AHA, 36.9% of adults and 18.5% of youth are obese who are more prone to shorter life spans due to cardiovascular diseases. Meanwhile, even if data shows that there is a decline of smoking, more and more individuals are using e-cigarettes which are now the most-used tobacco product.
These numbers should push for a call towards greater cardiovascular health awareness, and also a call to go for a cardio check-up since high blood pressure is also known as a “silent killer.”
Cost of Misdiagnosis
Misdiagnosis is the misidentification of a medical condition and mistaking it for another illness with similar symptoms. The responsibility falls on the doctor, and misdiagnosis could not only have severe financial implications on the patient, but can ultimately lead to death. In a study conducted on closed medical malpractice claims from 2011 to 2015, almost 70% of the claims stated that patients died due to misdiagnosis.
This is reflective of a pressing problem within the medical community, and it calls for a discussion to further advance the cardiovascular diagnosis process.
Cardio Health Through Life’s Simple 7
One’s lifestyle plays a role in how cardiovascular disease risk factors will greatly impact heart health. As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
With these seven factors, the American Health Association has identified Life’s simple 7 or a list of guidelines to follow to ensure a healthy heart:
· Stop smoking
· Eat better
· Get active
· Lose weight
· Manage blood pressure
· Control cholesterol
· Reduce blood sugar
Study shows that people with at least five ideal Life’s Simple 7 metrics had a 78% reduced risk for heart-related death compared to people with no ideal metrics. (Ford et al., 2012).
Making changes is never easy, and the pace of progress is different for everyone but it’s always worth it with the goal of good health.
For doctors, the goal to elevate the knowledge within the community is an ongoing challenge until this problem of misdiagnosis is addressed. One way to help address this is to have the cardiology websites of esteemed medical organizations and medical learning institutions should always be up-to-date to keep the community informed and aware.
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