Every February marks American Heart Month; a yearly reminder of heart disease, the number one cause of death of Americans. While heart health can have many contributing factors, there are actions we can all do to support heart health no matter our age.
What is Heart Disease?
Every year heart disease accounts for over 23 percent of deaths in the United States. The term heart disease is a catch-all term for several heart conditions including coronary artery disease (CAD), and may present as a heart attack, arrhythmia, or heart failure. Key risk factors include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking.
Heart disease is more common among people with diabetes, people who are overweight, and people over the age of 55. Heart disease can also have a genetic component, and is more common with people who have a family history of heart disease or heart attacks.
How Can I Support Heart Health?
Nearly half of Americans have at least one of the three risk factors mentioned above, so it’s important that all of us take actions that can support heart health. Some of the following tips are easier than others but they all work together to support a healthy heart!
- Focus On A Healthy Diet – A healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruit, and lean protein is a great way to support your overall health. A healthy diet also helps you to maintain a healthy weight, another key factor in heart health.
- Go For A Walk – Getting your heart pumping on a regular basis supports your heart muscle, as well as the rest of your body! Making sure to safely exercise is important for all ages.
- Plant A Vegetable Garden – Lowering stress, supporting positive mental health, and eating healthy all contribute to a healthy heart. One way to gain all three is through gardening! Growing a garden isn’t just a fun hobby, it can provide you with lots of veggies, and get you moving!
- Avoid Smoking and Alcohol – Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages is one of the most preventable health hazards. Both have a negative impact over time on your overall health, including heart health. No one can go back in time to avoid starting these habits, but you can always start now!
What Are The Signs Of A Heart Attack?
A heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart is suddenly blocked. Regardless of if you have any of the risk factors for heart disease, you should know what a heart attack may look like. Getting medical attention as quickly as possible is key in treating a heart attack and potentially saving your (or a loved one’s) life.
- Chest discomfort or pain. Discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or comes in waves. This can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or other pain.
- Upper body discomfort or pain. Feelings of pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. Feeling as if you can’t get a full breath.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat.
- Nausea, including vomiting, or feeling of heartburn.
- Lightheadedness or dizziness.
If you or a loved one experiences any of the warning signs of a heart attack, call 911 to get fast, life-saving treatment.
Supporting a healthy heart at all ages can help ensure a high quality of life for the older adults in our lives! AmeraCare is dedicated to the health and wellness of their patients across southern Louisiana. Reach out today to see if in-home care may benefit your loved one!← Blog