February is Heart Health Month
As we age our blood pressure, cholesterol and other heart-related numbers tend to rise increasing our risk for heart disease. The good news is there are small steps you can take to lower your risk of heart related health issues.
· Watch your weight
· Eat a healthy diet
· Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke
· Follow your physician treatment plans and medications
For those of us in our 60s or older, it's a good idea to ask your doctor about adding an ankle-brachial index test as part of your annual physical exam. This test assesses the pulses in the feet to help diagnose peripheral artery disease (PAD,) which is a lesser known cardiovascular disease in which plaque builds up in the leg arteries.
Watching your numbers closely and managing any health problems that arise; along with healthy eating and exercise; can help you live longer and enjoy a better quality of life.
Know the Signs
A heart attack occurs when an area of the heart muscle dies or is permanently damaged due to an inadequate supply of oxygen to that area. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense while others start slowly and have mild pain or discomfort. Often those affected are not sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is occurring:
· Chest pain or discomfort – uncomfortable pressure or squeezing in the middle of the chest that can last for more than a few minutes or go away and come back.
· Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
· Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
· Cold sweats, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea or vomiting