Heart Disease A Silent Epidemic
Cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, is the leading cause of death in the United States, but what causes it? And who is most at risk?
First, heart disease refers to problems inhibiting the heart’s ability to properly function and circulate blood through the body. Many of these problems are related to atherosclerosis – the process of a substance called plaque building up in the walls of the arteries.
Plaque buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. This increases the risk of a blood clot forming, which can stop blood flow and potentially cause a heart attack, stroke or even cardiac arrest.
What are the risk factors for heart disease?
When it comes to identifying the risk of heart disease, the American Heart Association identifies six major factors:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Being overweight
- Physical inactivity
Knowing – and avoiding – these top risk factors for heart disease is vital to prevention.
Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Women are more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
Cardiac Signs and Symptoms for Women
Women can have the same signs and symptoms of a heart attack as a man can, but more often than not, Women have what we call non-specific symptoms that can start hours or even weeks prior to the actual heart attack. Women need to pay attention to their bodies and know what is “not normal” and seek care!
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal or back pain/discomfort
- Chest Discomfort
Early Heart Attack Care
Learn more about Early Heart Attack Care
IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY
If you feel the situation is life threatening or need immediate attention call 911 for transportation to the nearest hospital Emergency Room.
For more information about the Havasu Heart Center, please call 928-453-0139.