Educate Yourself During American Heart Month: Heart Disease 101

As a nice reminder to keep your heart healthy, February is American Heart Month. Heart disease can change your life in an instant, so it’s important to be informed about the risk factors and symptoms involved with problems like heart attack, coronary artery disease, pulmonary heart disease, and congestive heart failure.

Here is how the CDC defines heart disease:

“Heart disease is a term that includes several more specific heart conditions. The most common heart disease in the US is coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed due to the buildup of plaque.”

While heart disease is known to affect senior citizens, the CDC states that one in four deaths in the United States are due to heart disease. And while heart disease is the number one killer of both women and men, more than 50% of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were men. And for those who survive their ordeal with heart disease, there is still the risk of disability.

Here are some of the main risk factors for heart disease:

  • Diet
  • Physical Activity
  • Smoking
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol Use
  • Family History

Balancing a healthy diet, regular exercise, and managing your diabetes as suggested by your doctor are all great ways to lower your risk of heart disease. There are even some risk factors you may not even know about. For instance, according to, “cardiovascular deaths spike by about 18 % [in the winter].” But with such prevalence in the U.S., how do you know when you are having a heart attack or suffering from another form of heart disease?

There are several kinds of heart disease, but they share many symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Nausea
  • Pain or a Heavy Feeling in Your Chest
  • Sweating
  • Increase in Heart Rate
  • Fainting
  • Weakness
  • Anxiety

Of course, these can also be symptoms of other issues or diseases, but if you truly think that you are having a heart attack, it’s important for you or a loved one to call 9-1-1. It’s important to act fast when every second counts.

If you have any questions about heart health, contact the medical care providers at Sherwood Oaks.