Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States. It is an equal opportunity killer which claims approximately 1 million lives annually. The good news here is that it’s also one of the most preventable! Making heart-healthy choices, knowing your family health history, regular check-ups and working with your physician to manage your health are all integral aspects of preventing this disease.
Those at a higher risk for heart disease may have high cholesterol and/or blood pressure. They tend to also have weight issues and smoke, don’t stick to a healthy diet and don’t get enough exercise or physical activity. Age and family history also affect your risk for heart disease. Women over age 55 and men over age 45 are at a higher risk. It’s important to eat healthy, get active, and manage stress effectively!
Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease and can lead to a heart attack. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back .The discomfort can be uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, or simply pain. You can also experience discomfort in the arms, back, neck and jaw (upper body). Other symptoms can include shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness.
If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, you should call 911 immediately.
Use this month to talk with your loved ones about heart disease. Remind family members to get their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked regularly by a health care provider. It’s important, in fact, it could save a life. If you are currently dealing with heart disease – you are not alone. Reach out to others who share your diagnosis and start to build a personal support team around you. There’s no reason to cope with heart disease on your own, accept the fact that it may be difficult at times, joining a support group may be helpful. Lastly, be an advocate. Spread the word to others about heart health!