February is Heart Health Month. What exactly does that mean? It means learning about your heart and everything you can do to make it as healthy as can be!
Know the stats about heart health*
- Each year 790,000 people have heart attacks in the U.S.
- 1 in 7 deaths in the U.S. are caused by heart disease
- 1 million Americans are living with a form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of a stroke.
Those are some scary numbers! What better reason to make sure you’re following a heart-healthy lifestyle?
Know your risk factors
Knowing your risk factors are one of the most important parts of heart attack prevention. But knowing is only half the battle. After you’ve identified your risk factors, make sure you do everything you can to lower your risk.
|Risk Factor||What You Can Do|
|Physical inactivity||Get moving! Start exercising, whether it’s going for walks in your neighborhood, or joining your local gym.|
|Poor Nutrition||Eat Healthier. Start small by defining specific goals over time. (remember our post from last month?)|
|Excessive Alcohol Use||Cut back on the alcohol. Limit yourself to one glass of wine with dinner, or to only having a few drinks with friends.|
|Smoking||Quit smoking. There’s no time like the present to stop smoking. It’s not easy, but with a strong will and support from family and friends, you can do it!|
|High Blood Pressure
|Talk to your doctor. These medical conditions require the help of your doctor. They can recommend diet and lifestyle changes that can get you on the path to a healthy heart!|
Recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack
Chest pain or discomfort. Most involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest, lasting a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. It feels like pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
Discomfort in other areas of the upper body, especially in one of both arms, or in the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
Shortness of breath with or before chest discomfort.
Other symptoms include cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
For more information about heart health, visit The American Heart Association.
Written by Sarah Way
*The American Heart Association, Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, 2017
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