February is America’s Heart Awareness month. In the United States, heart disease causes 1 in every 4 deaths among both men and women. Although the public considers heart disease a common issue among men, the condition affects males and females nearly equally. Yet, only 54 percent of women realize that heart disease is the top health condition threatening their gender. It can happen at any age. In the United States, 49 percent of all consumers (that’s half of all Americans) suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or smoking; the top three factors that contribute to heart disease.
Again, HEART DISEASE is the #1 cause of death in the United States, for BOTH men and women. So, all of us should become more aware of the heart diseases that could lead to heart attack. There are various forms of heart disease, including:
CAD – HTN – HF – MI – CVA – atherosclerosis – and others.
Additionally, we should realize common AND uncommon signs and symptoms of serious heart disease. These heart attack symptoms include:
- Chest pain, uncomfortable pressure, squeezing fullness or pain in the center of your chest lasting more than a few minutes.
- Pain in the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Referred pain to the breast, arms or back.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat or lightheadedness.
- Nausea and vomiting, or chronic reflux symptoms despite using reflux medications.
- Sudden unwarranted shortness of breath.
If any of these symptoms occur and persist, you should report to the nearest ER or call 911 for assistance.
We should have a goal to prevent heart disease when possible. There are things we can do to raise heart health awareness among for ourselves, friends, and family. A simple thing we can do in February and beyond is
G – GET YOUR NUMBERS
- Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure and cholesterol, and other reversible things than could possibly lead to heart disease.
O – OWN YOUR LIFESTYLE
- Stop smoking, lose weight, exercise, and eat healthy.
R – REALIZE YOUR RISK
- We think it won’t happen to us, but heart disease can kill at any age.
E – EDUCATE YOUR FAMILY
- Encourage your family to make small changes together like cooking with spices instead of salt and holding family members accountable regarding health goals.
D – DON’T BE SILENT
- Tell every woman you know that heart disease is their #1 killer. And motivate every man you know to get a yearly physical, including heart studies if needed.
It’s never too late to take steps to prevent a heart attack. Things such as eating healthy, not smoking and exercising regularly are primary lines of defense against heart disease.