Up the Odds: Get Heart Healthy
Any time of the year, the statistics are sobering -- heart disease and stroke are the number one killer for women in the United States.
“Risk factors include your age, cholesterol levels, weight, family history, smoking and blood pressure,” says Amy Phillips
, one of our OB/GYN
doctors at UAMS
. “Women usually develop heart disease about 10 to 15 years later than men,” she said. “By age 70, women have about the same risk for heart disease as men of the same age.”
To help protect heart disease, learn all you can about how to keep your heart healthy and what to do if you or someone you know suffers from heart disease.
There are 10 factors that affect your likelihood for having heart disease. Three of these – age, gender and family history – can’t be changed. The other seven are things you can do something about, using seven keys to prevention
. Before you start, take a simple assessment to find out which of the following areas you need to work on. Get started on your Life Check.
Too much sodium in your system causes your body to retain water, which puts an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels. Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet may help you lower or avoid high blood pressure.
- It’s a myth that sea salt has less salt than table salt.
- 75% of dietary sodium comes from processed food, not from adding salt to your food at the table.
- Try these low-salt recipes.
F.A.S.T. is a great way to remember how to spot a stroke.
Face drooping. Ask the person to smile. See if one side of the face droops or is numb.
Arm weakness. Ask the person to lift both arms. See if one arm is weak or numb.
Speech difficulty. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence such as, “It is cold outside.” See if their speech is hard to understand or they are unable to speak.
Time to call 9-1-1. If the person shows any of these symptoms – even if the symptoms go away – call 9-1-1 and get them to a hospital immediately.
Most heart attacks
are marked by discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and returns. The feeling is often described as uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain.
Other heart attack warning signs include:
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
- Shortness of breath
- Breaking out in a cold sweat
Cardiac arrest strikes immediately. Look for:
- Sudden loss of responsiveness
- No normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least 5 seconds.
- No response to tapping on shoulders
If you see any of these signs, call 9-1-1.
If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, call 9-1-1. Then begin hands-only CPR. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive
” – the classic 1970s disco hit. This easy-to-remember song has the right beat for hands-only CPR. CPR can more than double a person’s chance of survival. Keep performing CPR until help arrives. You might just save a life.