With February being American Heart Month, it serves as a reminder of the facts of heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, killing 614,348 people in 2014.
The CDC says the following symptoms may indicate you have heart disease:
• Heart Attack: Chest pain or discomfort, upper back pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea/vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, and shortness of breath.*
• Arrhythmia: Fluttering feelings in the chest (palpitations).*
• Heart Failure: Shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of the feet/ankles/legs/abdomen.*
• Stroke: Sudden weakness, paralysis (inability to move) or numbness of the face/arms/legs, especially on one side of the body. Other symptoms may include: confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech, difficulty seeing in one or both eyes, shortness of breath, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, loss of consciousness, or sudden and severe headache.*
*Directly from the CDC.
Certain pre-existing medical conditions or lifestyles may also be risk factors in getting heart disease:
• Poor eating habits
• Lack of physical activity
However, there are ways to reduce your risk of getting heart disease:
• Know your blood pressure. Having uncontrolled blood pressure can result in heart disease. High blood pressure has no symptoms, so it's important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.*
• Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should be tested for diabetes. Having uncontrolled diabetes raises your chances of heart disease.*
• Quit smoking.*
• Discuss checking your cholesterol and triglycerides with your healthcare provider.*
• Make healthy food choices. Being overweight and obese raises your risk of heart disease.*
• Limit alcohol intake to one drink a day.*
• Lower your stress level and find healthy ways to cope with stress.*
*Directly from the CDC.
A heart attack may be a first sign of heart disease. If you are experiencing jaw, neck, chest, arm, shoulder or back pain, feel weak or light-headed, randomly feel tired, frequently get nauseous or experience shortness of breath, you may be having a heart attack.
If you ever experience any of these symptoms, it is important to call 911 and take this pain seriously. Heart disease and heart attacks claim thousands of American lives every year. Keep an eye on your friends and family and never hesitate to seek medical help.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.