American Heart Month – Be your own heart advocate

By Buffalo Medical Group | February 13 2019 | Doctor Tips

February is American Heart Month – a month dedicated to bringing awareness and education to heart disease. We’ve all heard the term “heart disease,” but do we really know what it means? In order for us to learn about how to prevent and protect against heart disease, we first need to understand what it means.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is includes various issues, many of which are related to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is s a condition that develops when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries, which makes it harder for blood to flow, and can cause blood clots. These build ups and blood clots can lead to a heart attack, or stroke.

Why is American Heart Month important?

Heart disease isn’t taken as seriously by people as it should. The fact is, heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women in the U.S.

The following may be symptoms of heart disease:

  • Shortness of breath with exertion
  • Chest pain, tightness or pressure with exertion
  • Change in exercise tolerance
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Jaw, arm or neck pain, or pressure with exertion

You may be at higher risk for heart disease if you have any of the following pre-existing conditions, issues, or participate in any of the unhealthy habits listed:

  • Family history: a male relative who has heart attack or stroke  (or stent or bypass surgery ) before age 55, or a female relative before age 65
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes: Diabetic women have 7-8x the risk of developing heart disease than women who are not
  • Active smoker
  • High blood pressure
  • Sedentary life style
  • Post- menopausal
  • Obesity
  • Low HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein)
  • Toxemia and gestational diabetes with pregnancy
  • Delivering a low birth-weight infant

You are your own health advocate. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, have a family history, or subject to other risk factors, we encourage you to learn more about our cardiology department, and schedule an appointment.