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Cardiovascular Disease - The Number One Cause of Death in America

By April 19, 2012Estate Planning

Cardiovascular disease is the abnormal function of the heart or blood vessels which can result in an increased risk for heart attack, heart failure, sudden death, stroke and cardiac rhythmic problems.  One third of American adults have some form of cardiovascular disease, making it the leading cause of death in the United States.

Cardiovascular disease is most commonly caused by narrowed, blocked or stiffened blood vessels that prevent your heart, brain or other parts of your body from receiving enough oxygenated blood.  Blood vessels generally have these difficulties due to a build-up of fatty plaques which is most often caused by poor lifestyle choices, but can also be due to defects and genetic factors.

Common Signs and Symptoms

-         Chest pain (angina)
-         Shortness of breath
-         Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms
-         Abnormal heartbeats
-         Light headedness
-         Dizziness

Prevention and Treatment

A healthy lifestyle is both the best prevention and the best treatment for cardiovascular diseases.  While there are medications that can help by lowering cholesterol or blood pressure, the most effective way to avoid or treat the disease without any negative side effects is simply by living a healthy lifestyle.

Eating a diet with lots of fruits and vegetables as well as grains and beans helps keep your body and your heart healthy.  Regular exercise is also important as it strengthens the heart muscle and increases oxygenated blood-flow.

Your risk of cardiovascular disease increases with several factors such as: age; gender (males have a higher risk); family history of cardiovascular disease; poor diet; smoking; alcohol consumption; diabetes; obesity; high stress; high blood pressure; high blood cholesterol levels; physical inactivity and poor hygiene.  Talk to your physician about what treatment methods would be best for you.

What to Do Now?

If you have experienced any of the symptoms listed above, make certain to visit a physician immediately.  The sooner cardiovascular disease is diagnosed the more effective the treatment will be.  Make sure you follow these steps to get help:

  1. See your physician for an official diagnosis.  Be sure to ask questions and get as much information as you can from your practitioner.
  2. Make a plan for the future that ensures you will be taken care of if the disease worsens.  Make sure you determine who would serve as a caretaker; if a form of nursing assistance would be beneficial or necessary; how to pay for care; and who to designate for important legal, financial and healthcare decisions.
  3. Get all legal affairs in order.

Getting Legal Affairs in Order

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in our nation.  For this reason, if you have been diagnosed, it is imperative that you have planned ahead accordingly.  Ensure that one or more persons are selected to handle financial, medical, healthcare and other important decisions on your behalf in case of a stroke, heart attack or death.

Setting up a Power of Attorney (POA), Healthcare Power of Attorney (HPOA) a Living Will and a HIPAA document are imperative. For superior protection of yourself, your loved ones and your assets, a living trust should also be created.  These various documents are crucial for ensuring you are taken care of and that trustworthy individuals are legally designated to handle important affairs.

Morris Hall (MH) has focused on estate planning for forty years and can help guide you and your loved one in the direction that will best help you prepare for the road ahead.  Our attorneys and our life care specialists can help you with everything from legal planning, financial assistance, help for caregivers, additional resources and more.

Find out more information and schedule a free consultation by calling 888.222.1328 or visiting us online at

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