Here are the facts: If you are not actively taking care of your heart, it can’t take care of you. According to the American Heart Association, more than one in three women has some form of cardiovascular disease. And heart disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for men in the United States. While there are risk factors that contribute to heart disease that you can’t control—such as genetics or your age—there are many things you can do to maintain your heart health.
February is National Heart Month—and in honor of that, we are sharing with you important information to help you be heart healthy.
First, download and take our free Heart Attack Risk Quiz here—and then share it with your family, friends and co-workers.
Know The Signs of a Heart Attack
Would you know if you were having a heart attack? Do you know the signs and symptoms? Did you know they are different for men and women?
The most common heart attack symptoms for both men and women are:
- Chest pain
- Chest discomfort
- Chest pressure
This doesn’t mean you’re in the clear if you don’t feel chest pain as about 10% of heart attacks don’t start with chest pain. Men often report these symptoms for heart attacks:
- Discomfort or pain in other areas, such as one or both arms, the neck, jaw, back, or stomach
- Shortness of breath, lightheadedness, nausea, or sweating
- Abdominal discomfort that may feel like heartburn
And women have different symptoms. These are the most commonly reported heart attack symptoms for women are:
- Chest pain or discomfort that doesn’t go away or that goes away and comes back
- Pain in the arm(s), back, neck, or jaw
- Stomach pain
- Lightheadedness, Shortness of breath, nausea, or vomiting
- Sweating, Breaking out in a cold sweat
For more information about heart attacks in women, visit GO Red for Women.
Know The Risk Factors for a Heart Attack
Make sure you know the risk factors for heart disease that you can control. Do any of these sound familiar?
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Overweight or obese
- Males with a waist measurement of 40 inches or more and females having a waist measurement of 35 inches or more
- Inactive lifestyle
- Type 2 diabetes
- Poor diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol
Know How You Can Be Heart Healthy
The following lifestyle recommendations can help you to reduce your risks and promote a heart-healthy life:
- Get regular medical checkups with your primary care physician that include a blood pressure check at each visit.
- Have your blood cholesterol checked at least every five years.
- Do not smoke or use illegal drugs.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Maintain a healthy weight and get regular exercise.
- Follow a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol.
- Limit your sodium intake to 1,500 to 2,400 milligrams per day.
- Keep stress under control.
- Combining regular physical activity with a healthy diet, adequate sleep, effective stress management and avoidance of tobacco slashes your risk of heart disease and premature death dramatically.
For more information on heart disease and heart health, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org.