Listen to Your Heart BY LINDSEY JOHNSON, MS, CHES
Heart disease is a pervasive problem in America. Learn the facts, recognize the symptoms and consider lifestyle changes to keep your heart healthy and happy.
Each year, the American Heart Association (AHA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other governmental agencies produce a document with the most current statistics on heart disease. The most recent report indicates that 121.5 million American adults, or 48% of the adult population, are living with heart disease. Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in America. This strong prevalence indicates that at some point, heart disease will hit close to
home. The best time to educate yourself and take preventive measures is now.
SIGNS OF A HEART ATTACK
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 790,000 Americans experience a heart attack each year. The signs of a heart attack can be different for men and women. The American Heart Association (AHA) describes common heart attack symptoms as including pressure, tightness, or squeezing pain
in the chest or arms, or along the neck, jaw or back. While the movies portray someone grabbing their chest during a heart attack, other symptoms may be more subtle and are sometimes overlooked. Nausea, abdominal pain, heartburn, indigestion, shortness of breath, fatigue, breaking out into a cold sweat, lightheadedness or
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sudden dizziness can also be indicators that there may be a problem. Women are especially likely to experience shortness of breath; back and jaw pain; and nausea and vomiting. If you experience any of these symptoms, particularly if you are
at increased risk, do not hesitate to seek help. In the case of a heart attack, minutes matter and seeking care earlier could potentially minimize the effects of the heart attack. When in doubt, seek emergency medical assistance.
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