February, that month devoted to love and romance, is rightly represented everywhere by beautiful red hearts. So what a perfect month to name American Heart Month and to raise awareness about taking better care of your heart! We’d love to keep this post strictly romantic – however, the tragic reality is that heart disease is the number-one killer of both men and women here in the U.S. and in Florida as well. Heart attacks happen when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked by a buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries.
Here are a few other statistics you should know. First, half of all Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease. Those three factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control, adults in the U.S., on average, have hearts that are seven years older than they should be. A heart attack strikes someone in the U.S. about every 43 seconds!
Heart disease is not just a problem for older adults either. Unfortunately it is happening to younger adults much more often and that’s due to lifestyle factors, not genetics. Too many people have unhealthy eating patterns and are physically inactive, leading to obesity, diabetes, and other conditions that cause cardiac issues.
One of the things that have us very concerned is that although heart disease is the number one killer of women, they often ignore the symptoms. Perhaps this is because movies and television tend only to show men having a heart attack, and of course it’s almost always a very dramatic moment with obvious symptoms. We’ve all seen the scenes where a man clutches his chest, and falls to the ground gasping. However, often enough, heart attack symptoms in a female are much more subtle. Instead of that big bang, where men say it feels like an elephant is sitting on their chest, women may experience shortness of breath, some pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, back and/or jaw pain. Women will quite often chalk up those symptoms to non-life-threatening conditions like the flu or acid reflux. Those less dramatic symptoms are subtler and can be confusing, but should not be ignored.
While we tend to think of heart attacks as sudden, many start slowly with just mild discomfort or pain. We urge you to pay close attention to your body and call 911 if you experience any of the symptoms we’ve mentioned above.
But before anything like this happens to you, learn how to be heart healthy now! At PremierMD Care, we can help you with your unhealthy habits, and make lifestyle change suggestions that really work! From our weight loss program to our attention to detail around chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, keeping you healthy is our main goal. Call us today to find out more about the extraordinary concierge care we can provide as your primary care physicians at PremierMD Care 239-319-4919.