February is American Heart Month and Cardiovascular Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with one in three deaths caused by heart disease and stroke reminds Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. These conditions are also leading causes of disability preventing people from working, enjoying family activities and living normal lives.
With more than 2 million heart attacks and strokes a year, and 800,000 deaths, it’s important you start taking some preventive measures one step at a time: Stop smoking. Quitting smoking is the single most important thing a person can do to live longer. Cut down on salt. Too much salt can cause high blood pressure, which increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease. Watch your diet. A healthy diet can help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, and can also help increase the chances of survival after a heart attack. Monitor your alcohol. Too much alcohol can damage the heart muscle, increase blood pressure and also lead to weight gain. Get active. The heart is a muscle and it needs exercise to keep fit so it can pump blood efficiently round your body with each heartbeat. Check with your Doctor first before starting a rigorous exercise program. Manage your weight. Carrying a lot of extra weight as fat can greatly affect your health and increases the risk of life-threatening conditions such as coronary heart disease and diabetes. Get your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked. The higher your blood pressure, the shorter your life expectancy. Learn to manage your stress levels. Check your family history. Many times our past (family history) predicts our future.
Make sure you can recognize the early signs of coronary heart disease.
Tightness or discomfort in the chest, neck, arm or stomach that comes on when you exert yourself but goes away with rest may be the first sign of angina, which can lead to a heart attack if left untreated.
For more information, contact your physician and visit www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/index.html
Happy Heart Month!
Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna