February – Time to Think About Your Heart

January seems to have flown by and with February just around the corner, our thoughts turn to the heart-filled holiday of Valentine’s Day.   Whether you adore all the romance this celebration conjures or consider it a “Hallmark Holiday,” that fills our heads with unrealistic expectations, Valentine’s month also gives us a valuable opportunity to stop and think about our heart health.

February is American Heart Month and the kick-off for National Wear Red Day is February 3, 2017.   Both campaigns aim to educate the public about the risks of heart disease, warning signs and lifestyle changes that can help prevent heart attack and stroke.

Women in particular can be at greater risk for heart disease because the warning signs are different for women than they are for men.   Heart disease is the number one cause of death among women, more than all cancers combined, but with education and lifestyle changes, 80 per cent of heart attacks or strokes could be prevented.

Small changes can make a big difference in helping to lower risk for heart disease.  By getting regular physical activity each day, managing stress, quitting smoking or cooking with heart health in mind, the risk for cardiovascular disease can be significantly reduced.

Warning Signs of Heart Attack

  • Chest discomfort: pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest.  It may go away and then return.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Nausea, lightheadedness or breaking out in a cold sweat.

Although chest pain is the most common symptom of heart attack, women are more likely to experience other symptoms such as nausea, back or jaw pain and shortness of breath.

To calculate your risk for heart disease visit the American Heart Association website by following this link.  For more resources about weight management, stress control, quitting smoking, physical activity, and for many delicious, affordable, quick and easy recipes that are healthy for your heart visit: https://recipes.heart.org/ .