American Heart Month is upon us! February is recognized as American Heart Month annually by the American Heart Association to promote healthy hearts and awareness about heart disease (the leading cause of death among men and women). February 2nd is also recognized as Go Red for Women Day.
You can celebrate American Heart Month by learning about heart disease and how you can prevent it, because the best celebration is living well!
What is heart disease?
A staggering number of people are affected by heart disease every single year. An estimated 610,000 deaths per year are attributed to heart disease, which averages out to 1 in 4 deaths every year. The most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease, which is a build up of plaque on artery walls that weakens the heart.
Additionally, an estimated 735,000 individuals suffer from a heart attack each year and for almost 30 percent of these individuals, it is not the first. That's one heart attack every 40 seconds!
What causes heart disease?
There are many factors that cause heart disease. The main heart disease causes are:
Other factors that may contribute to heart disease are:
Because there are many contributing causes of heart disease, about 47 percent of Americans (almost half!) have at least one of the three factors. New blood pressure standards released at the end of 2017 may even have you grouped into having high blood pressure now! Find out what the new standards mean for you.
What are the symptoms of heart disease?
Heart disease symptoms can present themselves in a number of ways. They most often include pain in the chest, abdomen, neck, jaw, throat, and back. More serious symptoms include heart attack, arrhythmia, stroke, and heart failure.
Heart attack signs include chest pain, shortness of breath, upper back pain, and vomitting.
Arrhythmia signs include palpitations, or a fluttering in the chest.
Stroke signs include paralysis, numbness in the limbs such as face/arm/leg, inability to hear or speak, confusion, sudden weakness, sudden headache, or loss of consciousness. (Learn more about how to reduce your risk for stroke!)
Heart failure signs include swelling of the feet, ankles, legs or abdomen and shortness of breath.
How do I prevent heart disease?
Heart disease prevention begins with maintaining a health lifestyle. This includes eating a heart healthy diet (more on that here), getting enough physical exercise (about 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week), and stopping smoking (find out reasons for why it's never too late to quit!).
Not sure where to start?
You can begin by checking out your Body Mass Index here to find out if you are in range for a healthy weight. Next, consult with your doctor about ways you can change you lifestyle to benefit your heart health. This includes discussions about your diet, exercise routine, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and any alcohol or tobacco products you consume.
Visit the American Heart Association for their Life's Simple 7 for more information on how to live a heart healthy lifestyle.
For those in the Southwest Oklahoma, you are in luck!
Jackson County Memorial Hospital in Altus, OK will be offering a Healthy Heart Screening for the public Tuesday, February 20th and Wednesday, February 21st for only $15. JCMH is located at 1200 E. Pecan St.
This will be a fasting blood test giving you excellent information - total cholesterol, (broken down into HDL and LDL), A1C (average of last 3 months of blood sugar), blood sugar, and Triglycerides. This is a great test to give you a good picture of your heart's health and only takes a few minutes! Call them at 580-379-5000 for more information.
Have you already been affected by heart disease?
If one of the symptoms of heart disease such as heart attack or stroke has caused you to have a recent hospitalization or to begin planning a surgery, Sunshine Home Care may be able to help. See our frequently asked questions, contact us, or call us at 1-877-477-2014 for more information.
Sunshine Home Care provides home health in Altus, OK and most of Western Oklahoma. For more information on our agency, visit here or contact us today.