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February is Heart Health Awareness Month

How to Prevent a Heart Attack

The best way to survive a heart attack is to never have one. How can you prevent becoming one of the millions of Americans who suffer a heart attack? There is actually a lot you can do to protect your heart. Knowing the risks and symptoms of heart disease is a good start.

Key risk factors for heart disease are:

  • High Cholesterol;
  • Hypertension;
  • Smoking;
  • Diabetes;
  • Unhealthy body weight;
  • Too much alcohol; and
  • Lack of physical activity.

Age is also a risk factor. Your risk for heart disease goes up as you age. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in people 65 and older. There are lifestyle choices and changes you can make to lower your risk. When you control your risk factors, you help protect your heart. It’s easy to get started. Here are a few ideas:

  • Eat healthy meals.
  • Add exercise to your life.
  • If you smoke, quit.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which can lead to a heart attack. While some heart attacks are sudden and intense, others can start slowly with mild pain or discomfort. Often people aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Pay attention to any of the following warnings of a possible heart attack:

  • Chest pain or discomfort;
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back;
  • Feeling weak, light-headed or faint;
  • Pain in arms or shoulder;
  • Shortness of breath; and
  • Nausea (an extra symptom in women).

Talk with your health care provider. Ask about lifestyle, exercise and dietary changes you can make to cut your risks. Follow your doctor's advice and take your medicines as directed. Most importantly, if you think you are having a heart attack, call 911 right away. Quick action helps save lives.

For information about how to prevent heart attacks, visit here

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