Heart disease is often fatal.
Heart disease is a real killer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States, causing death to an estimated 600,000 people annually, even outpacing cancer in the most recent official data available. Also, each year heart disease kills more women than men; plus it kills more women than breast cancer and lung cancer combined, making it the leading cause of death among women.
There are numerous reasons for such destruction. Most notable is that while the heart is essentially a pump, the blood it pumps carries all the vital materials that help our bodies function. If the heart stops pumping blood, the body begins to shut down and will die after a short time.
Ironically, almost the same simplicity applies to prevention. Fact is, it’s never too early to learn how to prevent heart disease and heart attacks. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends beginning the process at age 20.
You can start by knowing your risk factors, as well as the symptoms and warning signs of a heart attack. Understanding those factors, symptoms and signs can help reduce risk and save lives, perhaps your own.
There are a variety of factors that contribute to a person’s chances of developing heart disease. Some can’t be changed; others can be modified or treated by altering lifestyle.
♥ | BEING AGE 65 OR OLDER
♥ | HAVING A FAMILY HISTORY OF HEART DISEASE
♥ | Being AFRICAN AMERICAN, MEXICAN AMERICAN, AMERICAN INDIAN, HAWAIIAN and sometimes ASIAN AMERICAN, in part due to higher rates of obesity and diabetes
♥ | BEING OBESE
♥ | SMOKING AND USING EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF ALCOHOL
♥ | HAVING HIGH CHOLESTEROL OR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
♥ | LACK OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
♥ | HAVING DIABETES MELLITUS
♥ | STRESS
♥ | EATING A HIGH-FAT DIET
Pre-Heart Attack Symptoms
Usually experienced four to six months to one week before a heart attack:
♥ | UNUSUAL FATIGUE
♥ | SLEEP DISTURBANCE
♥ | SHORTNESS OF BREATH
♥ | PAIN IN SHOULDER OR UPPER BACK
♥ | CHEST PAIN
♥ | INDIGESTION
♥ | ANXIETY
Heart Attack Symptoms
♥ | CHEST PAIN. While the most common symptom is chest pain, not everyone experiences it, especially women. Women often describe their chest pain as pressure, tightness or an ache.
♥ | SHORTNESS OF BREATH
♥ | SWEATING
♥ | PAIN IN ONE OR BOTH ARMS
♥ | NAUSEA, VOMITING and INDIGESTION. One study showed women twice as likely as men to experience these three problems as symptoms of a heart attack.
♥ | BACK, NECK OR JAW PAIN
♥ | WEAKNESS
♥ | FATIGUE
♥ | DIZZINESS OR LIGHTHEADEDNESS
Where You Can Get Help
Becker’s Hospital Review has dubbed Florida Hospital as one of the top “100 hospitals with great heart programs” in the nation. Also, Florida Hospital is ranked among the tops in the nation for number of heart procedures each year, averaging 16,000 cases.
Annually, the Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute manages more than 70,000 cardiac-related visits, including 25,000 patients who seek emergency care for chest pains and nearly 2,000 patients who must undergo some form of cardiac surgery. Since 1981, the institute has performed more than 82,000 open-heart procedures.
What You Can Do
♥ | ELIMINATE SMOKING
♥ | EXERCISE 30 MINUTES A DAY MOST DAYS OF THE WEEK
♥ | REDUCE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION AND STRESS WHEN POSSIBLE
♥ | EAT A LOW-FAT DIET RICH IN VEGETABLES, FRUITS AND HIGH-FIBER FOOD