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Know the risk factors and symptoms.
The heart is a strong muscle responsible for pumping oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to all parts of the body. The heart is what keeps your body going. Having certain medical conditions and lifestyle factors can increase the chance of developing heart disease; these are called risk factors.
Do you know what puts you at a greater chance of developing heart disease? While there are some risk factors that are out of your control, there are many that are in your control. We call these controllable risk factors. For example:
Luckily, these are all controllable risk factors that put you at a greater chance of developing heart disease.
The first step in controlling your risk factors is knowing what risk factors you have. Do you know what your cholesterol levels are and what your blood pressure is? When was the last time you had a physical? You can't manage what you don't know. Talk with your healthcare provider to learn more about your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index (BMI).
If you do have controllable risk factors that increase your risk for heart disease, the best thing you can do is live a healthy lifestyle that includes physical activity, a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and not using tobacco products.
Nearly half of all Americans have at least one risk factor that increases their risk for heart disease.
-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Every year over one million Americans have a heart attack or stroke. If you see someone experiencing a heart attack or stroke, don't wait to call emergency medical services.
Learn the symptoms of a heart attack and stroke, because fast action can save a life.
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked. A heart attack can be fatal. Symptoms of a heart attack include:
Women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, and back or jaw pain. But for men and women the most common symptom is chest pain.
If you see someone showing these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Calling emergency medical services is the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment.
A stroke occurs when there is a blockage in an artery that prevents blood supply to the brain. Symptoms of a stroke include:
Use the acronym F.A.S.T, as outlined above, to spot the common symptoms of a stroke. Other symptoms can include numbness in one side of the body, severe headache, trouble walking and seeing and confusion. If you see someone showing these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Receiving timely treatment is vital for stroke recovery.
Make an appointment with your Healthstat clinician if you have any questions about heart disease and what you can do to improve your cardiovascular health.