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Put a Little Love in Your Heart: February is American Heart Month

Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, taking over 610,000 lives per year. February is American Heart Month, an effort to promote awareness and action to prevent heart disease and take lifesaving steps in the event of a heart attack.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, taking over 610,000 lives per year. February is American Heart Month, an effort to promote awareness and action to prevent heart disease and take lifesaving steps in the event of a heart attack.

Heart disease refers to any condition of the heart valves which impair the function of the heart. Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease and can lead to a heart attack.

Risk and prevention

Heart attacks can seem like sudden events, and someone who looks and feels very healthy may still be at risk, so it is important for everyone to know the risks, maintain a healthy lifestyle, get recommended screenings, and know the signs of a heart attack. Anyone can reduce their risk of heart disease by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and diet, getting regular exercise, and limiting alcohol use. People with diabetes and a family history of heart conditions are at higher risk. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are key indicators that of risk of heart disease. Talk to your doctor about monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol and about ways to lower or maintain healthy levels of both.

Know the signs of a heart attack

Nearly 15 percent of people who have a heart attack die. Getting a heart attack victim to immediate emergency care can improve the chance of survival. If you have or witness someone with these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

  1. Most often, shortness of breath is the first sign of a heart attack and comes before chest pain, although it can come after.
  2. Most heart attack victims feel a pressure or stiffness in the left side of their chest.
  3. Someone having a heart attack may feel discomfort or pain in their arms, face, neck, and upper back and stomach.
  4. Other symptoms may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness.
Awareness of these symptoms will instill a faster reaction to get professional medical help.

What to do in February

Show your Valentine how much you care about their heart by talking to them about heart disease. This month, there are many ways to spread the word and help others to get screened, change to healthier behaviors, and know the signs of a heart attack. Don’t stop after your month of wearing red. Healthy behaviors make a lifetime of contributions toward your health and heart attack prevention.