2 posts tagged “American Heart Month”

Get Pumped for American Heart Month

Posted February 7th, 2013 by

February Is American Heart Month

You’ve all heard this fact before:  heart disease (including heart attacks and heart failure) is the leading cause of death among American men and women, claiming around 600,000 lives each year.  But what are you doing about it?  Are you and your family working on the controllable risk factors that play a role in this largely preventable disease?

For example, how are you doing with these controllable risk factors?

Cholesterol levels
Blood pressure
Obesity
Diabetes
Tobacco use
Physical activity

During American Heart Month this February, it’s the perfect time to ride the momentum of your New Year’s resolutions and move towards a more heart-healthy lifestyle.  That means making small to large changes in your daily routine that really pay off.  From what you eat to how much walking you do, take stock of what you can control…and share your experiences with other PatientsLikeMe members.

Not sure where to start?  Use a BMI calculator to find out whether your Body Mass Index (BMI) falls within a healthy range.  Also, make sure you go in for an annual checkup this year, which will give you and your doctor a chance to look at your cholesterol, blood pressure and heartbeat.  That way, if there’s a red flag anywhere, you can start doing something about it sooner rather than later.

Also, it’s always a good idea to brush up on the warning signs of a heart attack – and how they may be different for men and women.  Here’s to keeping the blood pumping this year and many more!


How Heart Attack Warning Signs Differ in Women

Posted February 21st, 2012 by

A heart attack is unmistakable, right?  Not exactly.  And especially not if you’re a woman.

Elizabeth Banks in "Just a Little Heart Attack"

We kicked off February by recognizing National Wear Red Day and sharing a hilarious video created by actress Elizabeth Banks for American Heart Month.  In the short piece, a harried working mother begins having strange symptoms one morning, including tightness of the jaw, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, muscle pain and pressure on her chest.  Despite all of this, she remains more concerned about getting her husband and kids off to work and school, respectively.  Her son is the only one to recognize what’s going on, saying “Mom!  I think you’re having a heart attack.”

Part of 2012 Heart Month message is that the warning signs of a heart attack for women can be different than for men.  Unlike the stereotypical image of a man clutching his chest and falling down, heart attacks may appear less dramatic in women.  For example, a woman can experience a heart attack without severe chest pressure (“an elephant sitting on my chest”).  Also, women are somewhat more likely than men to report more subtle symptoms such as back or jaw pain, shortness of breath and nausea/vomiting.  The danger is that even when the signs are subtle, the consequences can be deadly.

The Key Statistic Behind This Year's American Heart Month

Would you be shocked to have a heart attack?  That’s what many women report – that they never thought it could happen to them.  As a result, they assume their discomfort must be something more routine like the flu, acid reflux or normal aging.  They also may downplay it in order to put their family’s needs first.  Don’t make this mistake.  A heart attack strikes someone every 34 seconds, and heart disease is the number one killer of women.  So if you think you or someone you love might be having a heart attack – even if the symptoms are subtle – don’t wait more than five minutes before calling 911.

Beyond knowing the warning signs, a little prevention (such as quitting smoking or walking just 30 minutes a day) goes a long way.  Learn your heart attack risk – as well as how you can lower it – with the American Heart Association’s Risk Calculator.