February is National Heart Month and to celebrate we are focusing this blog on keeping your heart healthy. We want to keep you informed on the risks factors and the warning signs of a heart attack. In blogs coming up we’ll discuss how physical therapy can help if you’ve experienced a heart attack or stroke.
First let’s talk risks. There are a number of things that put you at risk for a heart attack. Many of these risk factors can be reduced and even abolished completely when you take a proactive approach with your lifestyle.
Heart Attack Risks
- Weight – being overweight makes your heart work harder to pump blood through your body. Often, those who are overweight can also suffer from an enlarged heart; never knowing the condition until it’s too late.
- Smoking – it has been known that smoking increases your risk for a heart attack for many years.
- Diabetes – those who suffer from diabetes are at an increased risk of heart attacks. Type II diabetes can be caught early and reversed with the right diet and exercise.
- Sedentary Lifestyle – being inactive and not exercising regularly increases your risk of a heart attack. The great part is that while it is recommended to exercise regularly, 5 times a week for 30 minutes each time, it has been shown that any amount of exercise can be beneficial.
- Age – unfortunately the older we get the more at risk we become of having a heart attack. However, that doesn’t mean that taking control of the other risk factors can’t be beneficial too. While you can’t change your age, you can change how your body ages. Aging actively can make a great difference and Live Your Life Physical Therapy can help you age actively!
- Genetics – some people are genetically inclined to have heart disease. While this is another area that you can’t exactly change; by taking hold of the other risk factors and eliminating them can make a huge difference.
- Cholesterol – it is important to know your cholesterol levels. Did you know that exercise can actually help increase your “good” cholesterol, which in turn will then help battle the bad cholesterol in your body?
- Diet – there is no secret that a healthy diet promotes a healthy heart.
Next, let’s discuss the signs of a heart attack. There are some common signs that you may have if you are having a heart attack. However, what many people don’t know is that often women experience asymptomatic signs as opposed to the typical signs we usually associate with men. So the key here is that if you have any feeling that is not normal, seek medical attention. It’s better to be wrong and go home then to ignore signs because of the fear of feeling foolish and experiencing a heart attack!
Warning Signs of a Heart Attack
- Chest Pain – while this may seem obvious to some what you need to know is that not all chest pains are the same. Some describe it as a feeling of heaviness, others a feeling of pressure, some say it is constant while others may say that it comes and goes. Any pains in the chest is a sign that you should be checked immediately.
- Shortness of Breath – this is often in combination with the chest pain. Some describe it as a feeling of heaviness in their chest that won’t allow for a deep breath while others simply say they don’t feel the chest pain as much as the inability to take a deep breath.
- Cold Sweats – breaking out in a cold sweat can be a sign of heart trouble. Usually cold sweats also come with other symptoms; however, this is not always the case. If you have even the slightest thought that you are breaking out in a cold sweat for no reason at all it is best to be seen immediately by a doctor.
- Upper Body Aches – often those experiencing a heart attack say they have various aches and pains in their upper body area. These aches and pains can include pains in one or both arms, back pain is often a common symptom, along with neck and even jaw pain.
- Nausea – this is another common sign of a possible heart attack and often accompanies one or more other symptoms.
- Fatigue – is more common in women who are having a heart attack. As stated earlier women can often have different signs and because, until recently, most studies focused on men, women often didn’t have the same signs so they often were clueless that a heart attack was occurring until it was too late.
Time is Of The Essence
It is important to pay attention to any signs of a heart attack. Some people say “they just don’t feel right” when they are experiencing a heart attack. No two people are the same and people have different pain tolerance levels. When it comes to heart attacks time is of the essence; the sooner you seek professional help the better the chance of surviving the heart attack.
How Can Live Your Life Physical Therapy Help?
A common “cure” for most of the risks for heart disease is exercise. Live Your Life Physical Therapy offers cutting edge physical therapy to maintain, restore and improve movement, health and activity through wellness and rehabilitative programs. We will come to you and provide a comprehensive evaluation. Using this assessment we can then create a customized exercise program that is right for you and your abilities; so you will be more likely to stick with the game plan and reap the benefits of exercising regularly because you have a better chance at being successful. Exercise can begin at any age with any ability and that’s what so great about utilizing LYLPT for your exercise plan. Lower your risk of a heart attack by calling us today. We truly want you to LIVE Your Life!
Dedicated to Keeping You Healthy & Active,
Dr. Eva Norman
President & Founder
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Live Your Live Physical Therapy, LLC