February: American Heart Month

 

February is American Heart Month

Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., you probably have been affected by the disease in one way or another. According to recent New Jersey statistics, one in four deaths have been resulted from heart disease, and nearly 5% of total deaths were due to stroke in NJ. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing coronary heart disease.

Heart disease affects people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. The good news is that although it’s one of the leading causes of death, it’s also one of the most preventable diseases. We at Visiting Angels in NJ encourage you to become educated about heart disease and take precautions to ward off this tragic disease.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Chest discomfort in the center of the chest, possibly feeling uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain
  • Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, stomach, or jaw
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
  • Other signs include nausea, lightheadedness, or breaking out in a cold sweat

Risk Factors

  • Age—Adults 65 and older account for 82 percent of people who die of coronary heart disease
  • Gender — Men have a greater risk of having a heart attack than women and have attacks at an earlier age. Women’s death rate from heart disease increases after menopause (and is the leading cause of death for American women), but the death rate is not as high as for men
  • Heredity—Children whose parents have heart disease have more a chance of developing it themselves. African Americans tend to have higher blood pressure than Caucasians and have a higher rate of heart disease.
  • Tobacco smoke
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Being physically inactive
  • Obesity and overweight
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Too much alcohol
  • Not eating fruits and vegetables every day

Resources

  • American Heart Association, 1 Union Street, Suite 301, Robbinsville, NJ, 08691, (609) 208-0020
  • American Heart Association, www.heart.org

Download our February Community Resource Bulletin on American Heart Month.