Heart disease is the #1 killer of Americans today. Learn your risk so you can prevent it from harming your heart.
February is American Heart Month. This is a great time to learn about your risk for developing heart disease so you can take steps to stop it. When arteries accumulate plaque, they become too narrow to move blood throughout the body efficiently. Eventually, an artery may be blocked, leading to a heart attack.
What are the risk factors of heart disease?
You may be at risk of heart disease if you:
- Smoke or are frequently exposed to second-hand smoke
- Have high blood pressure
- Have high cholesterol
- Have diabetes
- Are overweight
- Maintain a high stress level
- Lead a sedentary lifestyle
- Eat high sodium, high cholesterol foods
- Are over 55 years of age
- Have family members with heart disease
Some of these, such as a family history of the disease or age, are out of your control. But many factors are controlled by lifestyle choices you make every day. If you want to lower your risk of developing heart disease, it’s time to toss the cigarettes, start a workout program and rethink your diet. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute provides this risk assessment test to help you determine your risk.
What signs and symptoms should I look out for?
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. Don’t wait for a heart attack to learn about your risk. Warning signs include:
- Chest pain discomfort, such as sensations of burning, squeezing or heaviness
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, shoulders, back or arms
- Breathing problems
- A changed heartbeat, such as racing or palpitations
- Unusual sweating
How can my physician help me assess my risk?
Even if you don’t experience the symptoms of heart disease, you may be at risk. Play it safe by consulting your physician. He can recommend screenings to help you assess your heart health, as well as provide tips on lifestyle choices that can lower your risk.
Now is the time to find out if you are at risk for heart disease. Visit Denton Regional Medical Center online for more information about our Heart Center or call us at (855) 477-DRMC (3762) for a physician referral.