A few year’s ago, my good friend’s dad suffered a heart attack.
He had experienced mild arm pain the week before and decided he should go to the doctor to check it out. He was told he was having muscle spasms in his arm and instructed to go home and ice and rest it.
Later that week he was alone in his office going through papers when the arm pain returned. He drove himself to the hospital where he was told he was having a heart attack. They gave him a nitroglycerine pill and rushed him to a better equipped hospital. In the ambulance HIS HEART STOPPED. Thank goodness they were able to revive him and he is now enjoying his kids and grandkids. He was told that if he had waited five more minutes before driving himself to the Dr. he would have died in his office alone.
February is American Heart Month, and before you start thinking that you are too young or too healthy or too anything to worry about your heart, read this:
Cardiovascular disease is responsible for one out of every three deaths and is the NUMBER ONE cause of death for men and women in America, and the leading cause of death overall worldwide. (source)
So while you might not personally experience heart disease in your lifetime, it is almost guaranteed that your parents or your neighbor or your kids or your auntie or that person next to you in the movie theatre might. Half of our popular has at least one major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and most of these people don’t even know it! By reading this post and being aware of the warning signs, you could help save a life of someone close to you.
Heart disease is a term used to describe several conditions related to plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries. As the plaque builds up, it causes inhibited blood flow in the affected arteries. Decreased blood flow to the heart deprives the heart muscle of blood and oxygen, causing injury and a possible heart attack.
Heart attacks have long been considered a male issue. Heart disease is the number one killer of men AND women in America! Women are actually at a higher risk of dying from a heart attack because they ignore common warning signs, assuming they couldn’t possibly be having a heart attack. A 50 year old woman has a 31% percent chance of dying from heart disease, and only a 3% chance of dying from breast cancer.
It’s important to both know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, and things you can do for your health to prevent heart disease in the future.
Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack
shortness of breath
chest pain, fullness, squeezing feeling
jaw pain, toothache
arm and shoulder pain (more commonly left, but can be either)
in women – look for abdominal pain, fatigue, neck pain
NO SYMPTOMS – 25% of heart attacks are silent
Ways to Prevent a Heart Attack
Eat right – eating low-glycemic foods high in fiber and low in saturated fat can help lower cholesterol. Don’t deprive yourself of what you love! Just learn to enjoy it in moderation, and fill up on a lot of fruits and veggies.
Exercise – Moderate exercise 30 minutes 5-7 days a week. This can include walking, hiking, biking, jogging, tennis, strength training, Pilates, yoga, swimming, surfing…anything that gets you moving! Here is a great Pilates for Beginners workout if you are just starting with exercise.
Quit smoking – Enough said.
Decrease stress – Spend five minutes a day thinking of what you are grateful for. Avoid rush hour if it makes your heart race. Stop checking your emails at 6:00pm every night. Watch a funny movie. Find regular ways to decrease your stress and your blood pressure. (The great thing about exercise is that it naturally reduces stress!)
See your Dr. regularly – If you are over 40 years old or have heart disease in your family, it is even more important that you have regular check-ups with your Dr.
Know your body – Thank goodness my friend’s dad had the body awareness to see his Dr. even after being diagnosed with a simple “muscle spasm”. If something feels off or wrong, don’t ignore it! There is no “stupid question” or “wrong answer” when it comes to your body and health.
Thank you for taking the time to read this today – you may have helped save a life! Please pass this on to everyone you know so that we can all help make a difference. If you would like to receive more healthy living tips and thoughts, please contact us and join our email community.