Aurora Center for Active Adults on how well do you know your heart – LIVING WELL Magazine

How Well Do You Know Your Heart?

Courtesy Aurora Center for Active Adults, East Denver LIVING WELL Magazine

Year after year, the statistics speak for themselves when it comes to the importance of heart health. Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 785,000 Americans had their first heart attack in 2010, and an additional 470,000 had a recurrent heart attack. It’s clear that heart health education is key for prevention. Do you know your heart?

Risk Factors

There are multiple risk factors for heart disease that everyone should be aware of. These include:

  • Family history
  • High blood pressure (140/90 and above is classified as hypertension, or high blood pressure)
  • High cholesterol (240 mg/DL)
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Overweight
  • Stress
  • Sedentary life style
  • Previous heart attack

It is essential to be educated on what diseases run in your family as well as the risks that come with your lifestyle choices. Weight loss and exercise can help to combat many of the above risk factors. More extreme cases may require medications to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. A close-working relationship with your physician is the best way to stay in control of your health. Know your numbers and monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels on a regular basis!

Do You Know the Signs of a Heart Attack?

Heart attack symptoms may vary between men and women. Common symptoms are:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Pain/discomfort in other areas of the upper body
  • Shortness of breath, especially with exertion
  • Cold sweat
  • Light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Other symptoms for women may include vomiting, fatigue, abdominal pain or unexplained anxiety

If you think you are having a heart attack, it is imperative that you call 9-1-1 immediately.

Overall, the best thing you can do for your heart is to stay educated. Know your risk factors, visit your physician regularly, eat healthy, exercise and know when to call 9-1-1 if problems arise. For more information, visit and attend Take Heart on Feb. 11, 2012 at the ACAA.