Docs: This month requires lots of heart
Valentines isn't the only reason to watch your heart in February
As February is National Heart month Castleview Hospital is pushing local residents to get healthy and pay attention to their hearts.
In the hospital's new monthly newsletter, Healthpoint Journal, Dr. David Nichols reports that "heart disease is a narrowing or blockage of the arteries or veins that provide oxygen and blood to the heart and body tissue."
"There are millions of unsuspecting 'healthy' people who are at high risk for heart disease because they have undiagnosed risk factors," said Nichols in the Feb. in the newsletter. "When people become educated about their risk factors and choose to manage the ones they can, they can lower their risk for heart attack and stroke."
The hospital stresses that individuals see their physician annually to have a blood pressure check up and discuss the risk factors that can lead to heart disease.
Castleview is not the only institution getting the word about about this devastating disorder. Cardiovascular disease claimed 869,724 lives in 2004. That accounts for 36.3 percent of all deaths nationally or one out of every 2.8 according to the American Heart Association. Their "You're the Cure" campaign urges citizens to be part of the cure by becoming an advocate.
"You don't have to be a doctor to save lives," states the AHA website. "Just be willing to deliver a lifesaving message to public officials whenever you can."
The statistics associated with coronary heart disease are staggering.
Coronary heart disease caused 451,326 deaths in 2004 and is the single leading cause of death in America today.
16,000,000 people alive today have a history of heart attack, angina or both.
This year an estimated 1.2 million Americans will have a new or recurrent coronary attack.
To combat the mortality associated with heart disease both Castleview and the AHA stress that every second counts when dealing with heart disease or stroke, which can also arise from high blood pressure.
The AHA along with the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute are currently stressing the "Act in Time" program which stresses the importance of calling 911 immediately at the onset of a heart attack.
Where coronary heart disease is American's number one killer and stroke is number three it is imperative that all Americans know the warning signs associated with the onset of either event.
According to the AHA, some heart attacks are sudden and intense, the "movie heart attack," where no one doubts what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort.
Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are the signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
Chest discomfort, most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that last for 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
The AHA reports that calling 911 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services staff can begin treatment when they arrive up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. The staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital as well.
"If you can't access the emergency medical services (EMS), have someone drive you to the hospital right away," states the AHA website.
If you're the one having symptoms, don't drive yourself, unless you have absolutely no other option."
According to the American Stroke Association, signs of a stoke include:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face or arm.
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.
"If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don't delay," . "Immediately call 911."
The hospital's newsletter also details the nine factors associated with heart disease and can be found at Castleview or for more information check out their website at www.castleviewhospital.net.