Straight to the Heart: American Heart Month

American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.  The most common type is coronary artery disease (CAD), which can lead to heart attack.  Other cardiovascular diseases include arrhythmia, heart failure, congenital heart disease and peripheral artery disease (PAD).  Since 1963, Congress has required the president to proclaim February “American Hearth Month” to help raise awareness and urge Americans to join the battle against cardiovascular diseases.

Anyone, at any age, can develop heart disease.  “A build up of plaque in the coronary arteries over time can reduce or block blood flow to the heart, which may result in heart attack,” explains Rose Teskie, Chief Flight Coordinator at Angel MedFlight.  “But, people can reduce their chances of developing heart disease by taking a few simple steps to prevent and control factors that put them at risk and by knowing the signs and symptoms associated with heart attack.”

Risk Factors:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Inactivity

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack:

  • Chest pain or discomfort that lasts more than a couple of minutes, or that goes aways and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck or jaw.
  • Shortness of breath.  Feeling like an elephant is sitting on your chest.
  • Nausea, light-headedness or breaking out in a cold sweat.

Preventing Heart Disease:

  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Quit smoking.  If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol.
  • Monitor your blood pressure.
  • Check your cholesterol.
  • Treat and manage your diabetes.

While heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, women account for nearly 50% of these deaths. There are many ‘Women and Heart Disease Campaigns’ to create awareness including Go Red for Women, The Heart Truth Campaign and National Wear Red Day.  Employees of Angel MedFlight invite you to participate in National Wear Red Day to show your support for women’s heart disease awareness, by wearing a red shirt, dress, tie, pants or just a pin on February 5, 2010.

For more information on heart disease visit the sites:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

American Heart Association

*** All Angel MedFlight nurse flight coordinators are licensed nurses and case managers.

One comment on “Straight to the Heart: American Heart Month

  1. mike says:

    Very useful information about how to avoid heart problems. Easy to read.

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