Heart Disease is the No. 1 cause of death for men and women in the U.S. And, Stroke is the No 3 cause. This means it's important for you to do everything you can to reduce your risk and prevent a heart attack or stroke.
Learn about the things that increase your risk and take steps to make changes. Even if you've already had a heart attack or stroke, it's not too late to improve your health and prevent future damage to your heart or brain.
KNOW YOUR RISK
Your risk of a heart attack or stroke increases if you:
- have high blood pressure
- have high cholesterol
- have a family history of heart attack, stroke, or heart disease
- have had a heart attack or stroke
- are overweight or obese
- have diabetes
Personal and Close to Home ~~~
This past weekend Saturday and Sunday consecutively two of my dear friend's husbands had 'heart attacks'. It was very scary there for a while for all of us. These men are 55 and 58 (not very old in the scheme of things) One was dealing with extremely high blood pressure; the other, this was his 3rd heart attack and he had also undergone open heart surgery about 3 years ago. Both were diagnosed with a blocked coronary artery (arteries that service the heart).
- Over time, high blood pressure can damage your artery walls and cause them to harden and thicken.
- Plague, which consists of cholesterol, fat, calcium and other substances, can build up in the damaged lining of an artery. Over time, it narrows and blocks the artery. As this plaque continues to build, the artery becomes narrower, harder and less flexible. This reduces blood flow to the artery.
- Eventually, the plaque cracks. If this happens, platelets, which are particles in the blood, clump together on or near the crack and can form a clot, thus cutting off the blood flow to the heart or brain - thus leading to a heart attack or stroke.
Symptoms of a heart attack or stroke are not the same for everyone. Also signs of a second heart attack or stroke may be different from those a person experienced the first time.
HEART ATTACK SYMPTOMS
- pain or discomfort in one or both arms, your back, neck, jaw or stomach
- pain or discomfort in the center of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back
- pressure, squeezing or fullness in the chest
- shortness of breath
- nausea, vomiting, cold sweat or dizziness
- sudden numbness or weakness in your face, arm or leg on one side of your body
- trouble walking or dizziness
- sudden confusion or trouble speaking
- loss of vision in one or both eyes
- sudden, severe headache
In addition to the symptoms listed above, Women may also experience such things as:
- unusual fatigue
- sleep disturbance and anxiety 'weeks' before a heart attack
Minutes Matter - Every Second Counts...
If you or a loved one or someone you know are experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, have someone drive you or them to the nearest emergency room or in most cases CALL 911. Many people waste valuable time thinking the symptoms aren't serious, but it's important to take action as soon as your symptoms appear. About 50 percent of people who die from a heart attack die within one hour of the onset of symptoms. And, it's no different for stroke patients --every minute that passes increases your risk of serous brain damage or disability.
REDUCE YOUR RISK
10 Lifestyle Changes that You Can Make to Reduce Your Risk of a Heart Attack or Stroke.
1. Reduce High Blood Pressure. If you have high blood pressure, make a plan with your doctor to lower it. Work with your doctor to reduce your current blood pressure.
2. Reduce High Cholesterol. Talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes and medications that can help you get your cholesterol under control.
3. Lose Weight. If you have extra body fat --- especially around your waist--- your risk increases. Losing just 10 pounds can reduce your risk. Make sure to talk to your docor before beginning a wight loss or exercise plan.
4. Be Active. Start slowly and add minutes to your workout everyday. Try to make exercise part or your daily routine. If you have had trouble sticking to an exercise plan in the past, choose activities that you enjoy and recruit friends and family to join you. If you miss a day, don't be discouraged -- just start again the next day.
5. Control your Diabetes. Monitor your blood glucose. The American Diabetes Association recommends that your A1C (the test that measures your average glucose over two or three months) be below 7 percent.
6. Quit Smoking. If you smoke, your risk of having a heart attack doubles. But, after just 24 hours of quitting, your risk goes down. After one year, your risk is half that of a smoker, and after 15 years, your risk will be the same as that of a nonsmoker.
7. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Use. Limit your alcohol intake to one drink per day for women (two for men). One drink is equal to 12 oz of beer, 4 oz o wine, or 1.5 oz of 80-proof liquor.
8. Reduce Stress. High stress levels can contribute to heart disease. Take steps to reduce stress in your life, and consider practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation or getting a periodic massage.
9. Eat a Healthy Diet. Talk to your doctor abut developing a plan to help you eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and low in sodium. Read nutritional labels on packaged food, and pay close attention to total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.
10. Talk Openly to Your Doctor. It's normal to experience anger, guilt or depression after having a heart attack or stroke. Your doctor can help.
For additional information and resources visits the Websites below:
- American Heart Association ~~ www.americanheart.org
- American Stroke Association ~~ www.strokeassociation.org
Information from Healthy Advise for You and Your Family - 2008 Healthy Advise Networks...
To Your Health & Success !