How heart-healthy are you? The answer to that question is more important than you realize
Heart disease doesn’t discriminate, and the statistics are sobering: 1 in 4 Americans and 1 in 5 women will die of heart disease each year. And every 43 seconds, someone dies of a heart attack. Despite those numbers, you can take control of your heart health today and lower your risk.
Heart Attack Signs
Learning the signs of a heart attack can save lives. Among the most recognizable symptoms, says Jayme Rock-Willoughby, DO, an OhioHealth heart and vascular physician, is a heaviness or tightness in your chest. “It tends to feel uncomfortable and radiates to the left side and up into your jaw or neck,” she says. These symptoms can be accompanied by shortness of breath, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting or increased sweating.
Heart Attack Prevention Tips
While there may be risk factors you cannot alter — such as a family history of heart disease or being a certain age or gender — lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Stop smoking. Quitting smoking is one of the most powerful and effective ways to reduce heart disease and other chronic conditions. If you’d like to take steps to quit smoking, visit OhioHealth’s website here for more information.
- Take more steps. “I recommend 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise. Multiple 10-minute walks throughout each day is beneficial, too,” Rock-Willoughby says. Another option is to purchase a pedometer and count your steps. The ultimate goal is 10,000 steps per day.
- Reduce your salt intake. Choose fresh herbs to season foods, and cut back on processed meals that tend to be sodium-laden.
- Take a baby aspirin. If you’re over the age of 50, unless you are at high risk of bleeding, taking a baby aspirin every day is beneficial. As always, talk to your primary care provider before beginning any type of medicine.
- Eat a balanced diet. Make sure you’re getting the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables to get key nutrients you may be missing.
- Regularly visit your doctor. Talk with your doctor to see which heart screenings you need based on age and other risk factors.
Want to learn more about heart disease and heart attack prevention? Find out more tactics and resources from OhioHealth.