Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Knowing how to recognize the warning signs of heart disease can potentially save your life. Learn what you need to know about heart disease and what steps you should take if you think you are at risk.
Understand Your Risk Factors
It is important to understand your risk factors for developing heart disease. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, smoking, being overweight or obese, a family history of heart disease, and an inactive lifestyle. If any of these apply to you, it is important to make healthy lifestyle changes as soon as possible in order to lower your risk. For example, eating a healthy diet low in saturated fat and exercising regularly can help reduce your risk significantly.
Recognizing the Symptoms
The most common symptoms of heart disease are chest pain (angina) or discomfort, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness, nausea or fatigue during physical activity. If you experience any of these symptoms—even if they seem mild—you should seek medical attention right away. It is also important to be aware that women may experience different symptoms than men; they may feel pressure or pain in their upper back, jaw or neck instead of chest pain. Any sudden onset of these symptoms should not be ignored; call 911 immediately if you have any concerns about your health.
Knowing how to recognize the warning signs and understanding your own risk factors for developing heart disease can help ensure that you get the care that you need as early as possible and give yourself the best chance for a full recovery. By making small but meaningful lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet low in saturated fat and sodium will also go a long way towards reducing your risk for developing heart disease in the future. Taking ownership over your own health is an essential step in protecting yourself against serious medical conditions like heart disease!
Northeast Missouri Health Council, Partners for a lifetime of health
Medical, Dental, and Behavioral Clinics in Kirksville, Missouri, Macon, Missouri, Milan, Missouri, and Kahoka, Missouri. Visit our website to find the nearest clinic to you. www.nemohealthcouncil.com