February is recognized as Heart Health Month. Here is some of the information published through the American Heart Association that everyone should know:
Heart Attack Warning Signs
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the "movie heart attack," where no one doubts what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
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.
Dr. Webber encourages individuals to, “learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out. Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1. It is always better to come to the E.R. and be safe rather than sorry”.
Stroke Warning Signs
The American Heart Association says these are the warning signs of stroke:
If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don't delay! Immediately call 9-1-1 or the emergency medical services (EMS) number so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can be sent for you. Also, check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared. It's very important to take immediate action. If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.
Heart-healthy nutrition, daily physical activity, eliminating tobacco, controlling diabetes and a commitment to follow your healthcare professional's recommendations (including for cholesterol and high blood pressure) are all part of reducing your risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
If you have any questions about heart health, please talk to your doctor or visit the American Heart Association’s website at www.americanheart.org.