February: American Heart Month

It’s halfway through February, so it’s time to talk about American Heart Month. Here are some basic facts about heart disease that everyone—at every age—should know.

What is heart disease?

Cardiovascular disease—the main form of heart disease—is any disorder involving the heart or blood vessels. People with this form of heart disease have narrowing arteries that are in danger of becoming blocked, resulting in a heart attack.

Heart disease can also cause chest pain and stroke. Symptoms of heart disease will vary based on the exact condition you have and whether you’re a man or a woman. Some basic symptoms are:

  • Pain, tightness, pressure, or discomfort in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or numbness in your arms and legs
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back

10 Facts about heart disease

In an effort to raise awareness about heart disease, here are ten things you should know. Feel free to share with your loved ones, especially if you think any of them may be at risk.

  1. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, according to the CDC.
  2. Heart disease is responsible for 1 out of 4 deaths in the United States every year.
  3. Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and lack of physical activity put you at risk for heart attack. Other risk factors include obesity and family history of heart attack.
  4. Making lifestyle changes can dramatically decrease your risk of developing heart disease
  5. A quick response is crucial to survival rates after a heart attack. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of heart attack: chest pain or discomfort, upper body pain, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, or cold sweats. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, call 911 immediately.
  6. Heart attack symptoms do vary from person to person. Some people have sudden onset of symptoms, while others have recurring chest pain for weeks.
  7. Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating. It’s usually triggered by a heart attack, but that’s no the only cause.
  8. There is no permanent cure for cardiovascular disease, but certain procedures such as bypass surgery can help blood and oxygen circulate better.
  9. Cardiomyopathy is a weak heart muscle that mimics heart disease. Symptoms include breathlessness, dizziness, swelling of the legs and feet, fatigue, and irregular heartbeat.
  10. Congenital heart defects are also considered heart disease. About 1out of 125 infants are born with heart defects every year.

To read more about heart disease, check out these articles from our blog:

Heart Doctors Give This Advice to Family and Friends

Vascular Disease: What Are The Symptoms And Health Effects

Stroke: Understanding Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

How Dietary Habits Impact Vascular Health