February is Heart Health Month
What You Should Know About Heart Disease
Since it’s February, you may be thinking about sweetheart candy and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. Did you know that it is also a great time to think about your own heart? February is Heart Health Month!
It’s important to know the risk factors and signs of heart disease as it’s the leading cause of death for both men and women with 610,000 Americans dying from heart disease each year.
How to Prevent Heart Problems
Knowing the risk factors for heart disease and its related conditions can help prevent major health problems in the future.
If you smoke, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you’re at a higher risk for developing heart disease. Managing these conditions well and quitting smoking is important for your heart health. Talk with your doctor about getting your blood pressure or cholesterol where it should be with healthy lifestyle choices or medication.
Other factors that can put you at risk for future heart problems include:
- being overweight or physically inactive
- drinking alcohol excessively
- having diabetes
- maintaining a poor diet
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity at least 5 days a week. They also recommend that you eat a healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, with limited saturated fat, trans fat, red meat, sodium, and sugar.
What are the Signs of a Heart Attack or Stroke?
There are many forms of heart disease. The most common cause is the narrowing of the coronary arteries which is the reason people experience a heart attack.
Knowing heart attack symptoms can save a life when getting help quickly is crucial. If you or someone you know has discomfort in their chest and other areas of the upper body, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness, call 911 immediately.
Heart disease can also cause stroke. This is due to either a blood clot that blocks a vessel in the brain or a blood vessel bleeding into the brain.
The signs of a stroke include:
- face drooping
- muscle weakness
- speech difficulty
If you are experiencing these signs, you need to call 911 right away.
If you have any questions about heart disease, contact your doctor to learn how you can improve your heart health.