The chances for surviving a heart attack are greater the sooner emergency treatment begins. So, in support of American Heart Month, take some time to review the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and choose a healthier lifestyle.
The American Heart Association (AHA) warns that most heart attacks come on slowly, making it critical to catch the signs early.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report the five major symptoms of a heart attack as the following:
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back
- Feeling weak, light-headed or faint
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder
- Shortness of breath
Other symptoms, particularly in women can include unexplained tiredness and nausea or vomiting. Do not hesitate to call 9-1-1—minutes matter.
About half of Americans have at least one of three risk factors leading to heart disease—high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking, according to the CDC.
However, you can make attempts to control these risk factors.
First, get your blood pressure checked and begin monitoring your progress, working with your doctor. Next, it is important to make changes that matter. Take into consideration these tips from the AHA:
- Eat a well-balanced diet that’s low in salt
- Limit alcohol
- Enjoy regular physical activity
- Manage stress
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Quit smoking
- Take your medications properly
Knowing your blood pressure numbers is a first step to taking a healthier approach. The AHA estimates nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure and many don’t even know it. Healthy lifestyle choices, proper treatment and management can lead to keeping your blood pressure under control; just as certain choices can put you at greater risk.
Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States. Quitting smoking is not an easy task, but setting up a “Quit Day” is one step closer to the task. The AHA suggests choosing a date within the next seven days of when you’ll quit smoking, to start the process. It is important to create a plan for how you will quit and seek out the support you may need along the way. Stock up on healthy foods to snack on and make plans to reward yourself along the way.
For #AHM2019, we’re joining @nih_nhlbi & @TheHeartTruth to spread the word that reducing the risks of #heartdisease is easier when you’re part of a team. #OurHearts are healthier together. www.nhlbi.nih.gov/heartmonth