The American Heart Association informs us that coronary heart disease is America's number one killer. Stroke is number three, as well as being a leading cause of serious disability.
To reduce your risk factors for cardiovascular disease, know the warning signs and know how to respond quickly and properly.
According to the AHA, some heart attacks are sudden and intense, like the "movie heart attack," where everyone knows what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. People affected often aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help.
Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is occurring:
- 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 ... with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
Getting HelpLearn the signs, but even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out. Minutes matter. Fast action can save lives. Don't wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1. Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services staff can begin treatment immediately, often much sooner than getting to the hospital by car. Emergency personnel are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. Have someone drive you to the hospital right away if you can't access 9-1-1 immediately. Don't drive yourself to a hospital if you're the one having symptoms, unless you have absolutely no other option. Heart attack and stroke victims can benefit from cutting edge medications and treatments. Clot-busting drugs can stop some heart attacks and strokes in progress, reducing disability and saving lives. But to be effective, these drugs must be given relatively quickly after heart attack or stroke symptoms first appear. Heart disease is closely related to various risk factors, some we can change, and some we cannot. Risk factors we cannot change: Increasing age. Eighty-three percent of those who die of heart disease are 65 or older. Gender. More men have heart attacks than women. Heredity. Family history and race make a difference. Statistically, blacks have higher blood pressure and greater risk of heart disease than whites. Risk factors we can change: Smoking. Stop. Drinking alcohol. Drink in moderation. Cholesterol level. It can be improved by diet, exercise and prescription medicines. High blood pressure. It can be improved by diet, exercise and prescription medicine. Losing weight usually reduces blood pressure and cuts one's risk factors. Avoid or reduce saturated fats and salt. Lifestyle. Be active. Begin an exercise program utilizing 30 minutes, five days a week. Overweight or obesity. Medically, one is overweight when 10 percent above the recommended weight. Medically, one is obese when 20 percent above his recommended weight. Losing weight helps a whole range of health problems. Stress. Reducing stress is heart-healthy. Source: Intelligencer Journal. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. Powered by Yellowbrix.