Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. They can also increase the chances that an existing disease will get worse. Important risk factors for heart disease are:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Being overweight
- Lack of exercise
- Having a family history of early heart disease
You really have to take these things to heart.
Can’t you hear your heart beat? In healthy adults, there are two normal heart sounds described as a lub and a dub, (could not possibly ever make that up) that occur in sequence with each heartbeat. It’s o.k. if you can’t really hear it, the docs or nurses in the white coats all have an ear for it. But there are a lot of sounds that aren’t so normal, such as heart murmurs. Heart murmurs are sounds during your heartbeat cycle — such as whooshing or swishing — made by turbulent blood in or near your heart. Sometimes innocent, sometimes not so good. For such an important organ, there are a host of things that could go wrong. The one that frightens people most is having a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked, most often by a build-up of fat, cholesterol and other substances, which form plaque in the arteries that feed the heart (coronary arteries). The interrupted blood flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle. A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, can be fatal, but treatment has improved dramatically over the years. Some of the symptoms can include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest discomfort and/or pain
- Chest heaviness
- Pain that radiates to the jaw, arm, or throat
People with the symptoms above persisting for longer than five minutes should call 911 immediately, for emergency medical care. Sadly, Americans typically wait over two hours before calling for help when they have symptoms of a heart attack. A dangerous mistake.
Billy Ray Cyrus produced a No. 1 song called Achy Breaky Heart more than 20 years ago. What you might be surprised to know, is that a broken heart is bad for your health. True. Absolutely true. While having love in your life can benefit your health, a broken heart can sometimes have physical side effects. Broken heart syndrome, also called takotsubo cardiomyopathy (say that quickly three times in a row), is a very real medical disorder. It’s more common in women, although either gender can have symptoms. In rare cases, this condition can be dangerous and even fatal. As Neil Sedaka sang in 1962, “Breaking Up is Hard to Do.”
You want what’s best for your heart. And it’s simpler than you might think. These lifestyle changes can help prevent a heart attack and heart disease:
- Eat for your future-starting a healthy diet can always make a positive difference
- Don’t wait to lose weight
- Take it easy–for example, yoga can steam up your sex life
- Keep tabs on your blood pressure
- Watch your blood sugar-too much sugar in your blood can damage your arteries, even if you don’t have diabetes
- Be smart about cholesterol-one is bad for your heart (LDL), and the other (HDL) can protect it
- Ask about aspirin-in some people, taking an aspirin every day can reduce the risk of heart attack
- Get a move on-exercise, exercise, exercise. (Even more important than location, location, location…and how often have you heard that one?)
- Be social
- Take responsibility for your overall health
- Don’t avoid your Doctor like the plague
- Stay informed. Science changes daily
Does a Heart Good
You don’t need cards and candy to know that there is someone out there who really cares about you and your heart health; Dr. Stephan A. Goldstein, M.D, F.A.C.S. at Denver Hormone Health. No one understands better how unbalanced hormones can take a hit on your heart. Hormones are the chemical messengers that attach directly on the DNA of the trillions of cells in your body. When they don’t do their job, they do a job on different parts of your body, including your heart. With simple tests, Dr. Goldstein can see what’s really going on, and develop an integrated program of hormones, healthy eating and exercise that will make you love the way you feel. So, call now.
One visit and you’ll see the attraction.