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American Heart Month

February 06, 2014


American Heart Month


February is American Heart Month.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.  The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary heart disease, which often appears as a heart attack.  Heart disease can take many other forms, including high blood pressure, valvular heart disease, stroke, or rheumatic fever/rheumatic heart disease. 
 
The chance of developing coronary heart disease can be reduced by taking steps to prevent and control factors that put people at greater risk.  By controlling as many risk factors as possible through lifestyle changes, medicines, or both, you can reduce your risk of heart disease.
 
Diseases and Conditions that Put Your Heart at Risk:
  • Arrhythmia
  • Heart Failure
  • Peripheral Artery Disease
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking 
Heart attacks can be sudden and intense; however, most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort.  Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help.
 
Know Your Signs and Symptoms: 
  • Chest discomfort.  Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back.  It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. 
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body.  Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. 
  • Shortness of breath.  May occur with or without chest discomfort. 
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.
 
What you can do to help yourself: 
A healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons you have to fight heart disease.  Physical activity in your daily life is an important step to preventing heart disease.  With a few simple steps, you can increase the amount of physical activity you do at home, work and play.   Before you begin any new exercise program, please check with your physician.  He/she can also help you with information about nutrition and medications that may be beneficial to your own situation.
 
For more information on being heart healthy, please visit the American Heart Association’s website at www.americanheart.org.
  
*Information on this page is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



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