February is American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women and men in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. Several health conditions, your lifestyle, your age, and family history can increase your risk.

Nearly half of American adults have at least one of the key risk factors for heart disease: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking. Nearly 1 in 3 adults has high cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. High cholesterol can be hard to detect. It often shows no signs or symptoms. High blood pressure is a silent killer. Certain physical traits and lifestyle choices can put you at a greater risk for high blood pressure. With proper treatment and management, you can control your blood pressure.

There is good news. Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Healthy eating starts with healthy food choices. You don’t need to be a chef to create nutritious, heart-healthy meals your family will love. Learn what to look for at the grocery store, restaurants, your workplace, and any eating occasion. Exercise to get your heart pumping. A good starting goal is 150 minutes a week. Find forms of exercise you like such as walking, jogging, tennis or yoga. Along with healthy eating and being active, make sure you are getting enough sleep (7-8 hours a night), managing stress, keep your mind and body fit, and socialize with friends and family.

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack

The most common heart attack symptom in women is some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But it is not always severe or even the most prominent symptom, particularly in women.

1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, or pain in the center of your chest
2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
3. Shortness of breath
4. Sweat, nausea, lightheadedness, or dizziness
5. Unusual fatigue
As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke

It is important to learn the many warning signs of a stroke so you will be able to recognize them. Once you know the signs, it is extremely important to recognize them and get to the hospital immediately when the first symptoms appear. It can make the difference between life and death.

1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
3. Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause

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