For how prominent heart disease is in the Unites States, many people know very little about it. 1 in 4 Americans suffer from heart disease, and today it is the leading cause of death for both men and women. While these statistics hold a very heavy weight, the good news is that early action in detecting heart disease can easily save lives and help promote long and healthy lifestyles.
One reason heart disease continues to be so deadly is that many people are slow to recognize the symptoms and so don’t seek emergency help when they occur. Symptoms are not always intense or obvious, particularly for women, and they can vary from person to person. It’s important to know and understand the symptoms so you can identify it if it happens to you or someone close to you.
Common heart attack signs include:
Chest discomfort can be mild or severe. Unlike with men, women don’t always get the classic pain that radiates down the arm. They may experience vague or silent symptoms that can easily be missed.
While a heart attack is the most well-known symptom of heart disease, there are other side effects as well. A heart attack differs from when the heart suddenly stops, which is called sudden cardiac arrest. This occurs when an electrical disturbance disrupts the heart’s pumping action and causes blood to stop flowing to the rest of your body. In contrast, a heart attack is a blockage of the arteries supplying blood to the heart. Should either a heart attack or cardiac arrest occur for you or someone you know, calling 911 as soon as possible is critical.
There are many ways that people can reduce the risk of heart disease. Here are some examples of things you can start today:
Get regular physical activity. It’s important to get some type of exercise daily. Talk to your doctor to get a exercise plan started for you.
Stop smoking. This is probably easier said than done, but smoking cessation programs are available! The nicotine found in cigarettes narrows blood vessels, increasing the risk of a heart attack.
If you’re diabetic, test your blood sugar more often to keep a tighter control of your levels. High blood sugar has a similar effect to nicotine to your blood vessels. It restricts and narrows them. Not to mention if you keep your blood sugars in control, it will help more than just your heart!
Consider taking baby aspirin daily. A baby aspirin helps reduce the risk of heart disease. Be sure to talk to your doctor first before you start taking any medications.
Seconds save lives. And, it begins with people identifying the signs and getting help as soon as possible. If you have any questions about heart disease, contact your doctor or speak with an Angel’s nurse about the best steps you can take to keep your heart healthy.