Don’t become a statistic

Published 9:37 am Wednesday, February 7, 2018

February is National Heart Health Month, and according to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease, listed as an underlying cause of death, accounts for nearly 836,546 deaths annually in the U.S. That’s about one of every three deaths in the U.S. Even more food for thought is that about 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of one death every 38 seconds. Approximately every 40 seconds, an American has a heart attack. Average age at the first heart attack for men is 65.6 years and 72 years for females. It is time for us to all sit up, pay attention and take action before we become one of these statistics.

So you may ask, “What can I do?”

First, know the signs of a heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, the warning signs of a heart attack are as follows:

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 discomfort.

Other Signs — may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But 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.

Second, take action. Many women (men are guilty of this too) discount symptoms of heart attack, chalking it up to the flu or acid reflux. If you are in doubt enough to take an aspirin, you need to call 911. Minutes matter, so don’t wait. In this situation it’s much better to have a false alarm than to become one of the numbers in heart disease statistics.

Third, start now to protect your heart. You have the power within you to combat heart disease. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, get physical exercise, watch your weight and manage your stress. If you smoke — quit, end of story.

For more information and great tips on how to protect yourself and your loved ones, visit the American Heart Association website at www.

Betty Ramsey is the publisher for The Charlotte Gazette and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Betty.Ramsey@ TheCharlotteGazette. com.