February is National Heart Month

February being national heart month is appropriate since this is the month associated with hearts. The heart is the most important pump we have. This month we will be talking about the warning signs of heart attack and stroke and the importance of not ignoring signs but seeking help in a timely manner.

According to the American Heart Association cardiovascular disease affects nearly half of American adults. This is not just the senior population as some might think, these numbers include adults from the early twenties on. Many factors contribute to cardiovascular problems. Some we have control over and some we do not. Genetics and heredity are not things we can change, but our activity level and what we eat are two factors we can control. Regardless, a heart attack or stoke can happen to anyone at any time. It is important to know the warning signs and get help quickly.

Signs of a Heart Attack:

  1. Chest discomfort/pain: might be described as uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, pain or a heavy weight on chest.
  2. Pain or discomfort in other areas of body (referred pain): jaw, arms (1 or both), back, neck and even stomach.
  3. Other signs: sweating, nausea, and lightheadedness.

Signs of a Stroke:

  1. Facial Droop: One side of face is droopy/numb (ask the person to smile) only one side will smile.
  2. Arm weakness: Have person close eyes and hold arms out in front of them palms up. Look to see if one arm drifts down.
  3. Speech difficulty: This includes slurred speech, being unable to speak, inappropriate speech or even nonsensical speech. Ask person to repeat a simple sentence like The sky is blue. Can they do it?

**If any one of these signs are present, even if it goes away or goes away and comes back get to the hospital immediately and get it checked out. **

So this February remember to give your heart some extra thought and educate yourself on healthy lifestyle choices for your heart.