February is National Heart Health Month

Cardiovascular diseases are diseases relating to the heart and the blood vessels. Known risk factors include high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, and high cholesterol levels. The majority of them are related to lifestyle and other factors, becoming more prevalent with age. Unfortunately, the diseases often do not have clear symptoms and can grow for months unnoticed; until after diagnosis is made with evaluation and diagnostic testing.

Despite many other diseases plaguing women, such as breast cancer and more, heart disease remains the leading cause of death. 1 is too many so learn about how to reduce your risk and spread your knowledge with others.

According to the CDC, black adults are 2 times more likely to die of heart disease compared to white adults. Educating this population can improve health and save more lives.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack

If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort.

    But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke

If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.

  1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  1. Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  1. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  2. Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Top Risk Factors:

  1. High cholesterol, especially LDL
  2. Diabetes
  3. High Blood Pressure
  4. Obesity
  5. Smoking and second hand smoke
  6. Unhealthy Diet
  7. Inactivity

What Can You Do?

See your health care provider and know your numbers. Know the status of your health and your risk factors, and together come up with a plan to keep your risks low.

Diet: Lower the amount of saturated fat (animal fat) and salt in your diet. Choose heart healthy foods.

Activity: Get in at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. If that is hard to fit in, get several small bursts of exercise in per day.

Quit Smoking: There are many resources to assist you. Florida offers freetobacco cessation tools.

Lifestyle: Identify stresses to help reduce them and get more and better sleep

 

 

Sources:

National Today

National Institute of Health

American Heart Association

GoRed for Women

CDC

Author
Peggy Demetriou, FNP, APRN-BC Founder and CEO of Qvita Health and Wellness.

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