Are you having a heart attack? Know the symptoms
February is heart month. Do you know the factors that put you at risk for heart disease and a heart attack? Do you know how to keep your heart healthy? Do you know the signs and symptoms of a heart problem?
There are many risk factors for heart disease -- some you can control, others you cannot change, but need to know.
The risk factors you cannot change are age, gender and family history. The following risk factors, in random order, can be eliminated or controlled: smoking, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, elevated blood cholesterol and other lipids (fats), diabetes, stress and obesity. Your risk of developing cardiovascular disease multiplies with each risk factor you possess.
You can take important measures to keep your heart healthy. Prevention is the key when dealing with heart disease. Don't smoke. Exercise 30 minutes on most (preferably six) days of the week. Maintain a healthy weight to keep your Body Mass Index below 25. Control your blood pressure and blood glucose. Manage stress. Eat a diet low in fat to manage your blood lipids. Your total cholesterol should be less than 200; HDL (good cholesterol) more than 40 men and more than 50 in women; LDL (bad cholesterol) less than 100 and triglycerides less than 150.
Do you know the sign and symptoms of a heart attack? Men and women may experience one or more of the following symptoms: chest pain, discomfort, pressure, squeezing or fullness, nausea, pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach, shortness of breath, cold sweat, tingling/numbness and lightheadedness.
Women's symptoms of a heart attack may be similar to men's, however, women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, back or jaw pain.
If you or someone around you begins experiencing one or several of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.
During heart month, won't you take the time to evaluate your risk of heart disease and start eliminating those factors that put you at risk? Work with your health care professional to improve your health and to keep your heart healthy. It's never too late to "love your heart?" You may save a life and it might be yours.
Greene has extensive experience caring for and working with individuals with heart disease, and also in the field of prevention and health and wellness.