The answer to that question is more important than you realize.
Heart disease doesn’t discriminate, and the statistics to prove that are sobering. For instance, one in four Americans and one in five women will die of heart disease each year. And every 43 seconds, someone dies of a heart attack. Despite those numbers, you can take control of your heart health today and lower your risk.
Heart Attack Signs
Learning the signs of a heart attack can save lives, yours included. Among the most recognizable symptoms is a heaviness or tightness in your chest. It tends to feel uncomfortable and radiates to the left side and up into your jaw or neck. These symptoms can be accompanied by shortness of breath, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, or increased sweating. Dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, or symptoms of fatigue can also be from a heart attack. Knowledge is power; paying attention to symptoms in yourself and others can save lives.
Prevention Tips for a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
Heart Month is a great time to begin incorporating heart-healthy habits into your daily routine to help prevent heart disease and/or heart attacks.
While there may be risk factors you cannot alter — such as a family history of heart disease or being a certain age or gender — these five lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of heart disease:
- Stop smoking: Quitting smoking is one of the most powerful and effective ways to reduce heart disease and other chronic conditions. If you’d like to take steps to quit smoking, visit OhioHealth’s website here for more information.
- Take more steps: “Staying active by simply putting one foot in front of the other is one of the easiest ways to help protect your heart,” Gregory Lam, MD, OhioHealth Berger Hospital Cardiologist suggests. To add to this, it is recommended you get 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise. Multiple 10-minute walks throughout each day are beneficial, too. Another option is to purchase a pedometer and count your steps. Go for 10,000 steps per day.
- Reduce your salt intake: Choose fresh herbs to season foods, and cut back on processed meals that tend to be salt (sodium)-laden.
- Eat a balanced diet. Make sure you’re getting the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables to get key nutrients you may be missing.
- Regularly visit your doctor: According to Dr. Lam, high blood cholesterol can raise your risk of heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke, but it might not cause symptoms. This is why it is important for all adults 20 and older to talk with your doctor to see which heart screenings you need based on your age and other risk factors, and to regularly get your cholesterol tested.
A Medscape article showed that when you start adopting these five healthy heart habits and continue to add more to your repertoire, your Coronary Heart Disease risk lowers. And there’s no better time to start than today.
Want to learn more about heart disease and heart attack prevention? Check out more resources from OhioHealth.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, OhioHealth is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, charitable, healthcare outreach of the United Methodist Church.
Serving its communities since 1891, it is a family of 35,000 associates, physicians and volunteers, and a network of 12 hospitals, 200+ ambulatory sites, hospice, home-health, medical equipment and other health services spanning a 47-county area.
OhioHealth hospitals include OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Hardin Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Marion General Hospital, OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, OhioHealth Shelby Hospital, OhioHealth Grove City Methodist Hospital and OhioHealth Berger Hospital. For more information, please visit our website at www.ohiohealth.com.