The month of February is a great time to learn more about your risk for heart disease and stroke. Our “5 Key Facts about Heart Disease” will help you learn more about your risk factors. Remember, it just takes a little effort to reduce your risk factors and live a more “heart healthy” life.
5 Key Facts About Heart Disease You Should Know
- Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, claiming approximately one million lives annually.
- More people die of heart disease than of AIDS and all cancers combined.
- One-half of the victims of Sudden Cardiac Death are under the age of 65.
- Women account for just over half of the total heart disease deaths in the United States each year – although many women continue to think of heart disease as a man’s disease.
- Women are six times more likely to die of a heart attack than breast cancer.
5 Ways to Lower Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Doctors agree that the best defense against heart disease is leading a healthy lifestyle. The suggestions below can really make a difference in your heart health.
- Quit smoking – you can drastically reduce your chances of heart disease just by quitting smoking.
- Slim down – losing just 5% to 10% of your body weight can improve your heart health.
- Keep your cholesterol and blood sugar levels under proper control –both can contribute to reducing your risk for heart disease
- Improve your diet – eating more vegetables, fruits, whole-grain and high-fiber foods, fish and other lean protein plus fat-free or low-fat dairy products has been proven to be heart healthy.
- Be more physically active – getting 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days per week can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol and keep your weight down – all beneficial for your heart.
Be aware of the major warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack
- Chest pain or discomfort.
- Upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach.
- Shortness of breath.
- Nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats.
If you think you are experiencing a heart attack, call 911 immediately. It’s the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment.