Heart Health 101

By: Hannah Ropp   February 1, 2017

February is heart health awareness month and according to Debra Ahrensfield, M.D. full of important reminders. “Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women, but there are things you can do to protect your heart at any age,” she says.

Be aware of your risk factors. Some are not within your control and those include:
• Males are at a greater risk
• Age (the older you are the higher your risk)
• A family history of heart disease
• Being post-menopausal

Other risk factors are considered controllable and they are:

• Smoking
• High LDL or “bad” cholesterol
• Uncontrolled hypertension or high blood pressure
• Physical Inactivity
• Obesity
• Uncontrolled diabetes
• Uncontrolled stress and anger

Know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and realize that they may vary from men to women.

Signs of a Heart Attack in Men-

• Shortness of breath, lightheadedness, nausea or sweating
• Discomfort or pain in other areas like one or both arms, the neck, jaw, back or stomach
• Abdominal pain that may resemble heart burn

Signs of a Heart Attack in Women –

• Shortness of breath
• Uncomfortable pressure or fullness in your chest that lasts more than a few minutes
• Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the neck, back, jaw or stomach
• Cold sweat, nausea/vomiting or lightheadedness

Ways to Prevent Heart Disease:

• Eat a healthy diet rich in lean meats, fruits and vegetables
• Watch your weight
• Stay active
• Control your stress with stress management tools like breathing exercises or even yoga/meditation
• Go to regular wellness exams

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