HATTIESBURG, Miss - In February the American Heart Association celebrates ‘American Heart' month to raise awareness of one’s own heart.
According to the American Heart Association, “Every year and estimated 735,000 Americans suffer a heart attack, of that number 525,00 are a first heart attack, and 210,00 of those happen in people who have already had a heart attack.”
Dr. Lawrence Leader of Hattiesburg Clinic mentions American Heart month should be celebrated all year long and advises 3 simple steps to help manage your heart.
First Dr. Leader says that citizens should know basic life support skills. “Learn basic life support that is something that we can all do and get courses. It may be something that can change someone from a potentially life threatening to life changing event where you can preserve their brain, heart, and get them to where they can get definitive care.”
The population assumes that heart disease is associated with only men, however Dr. Leader says heart disease does not discriminate and affects both genders equally.
You can help your peers decrease the risk too. “Be a good example to others, if I am not smoking it may encourage you not to be a smoker. If I am more active it may encourage you to be more active. If I walk every day, I might go ask a friend ‘Do you want to walk with me?’ by doing that it increases their activity level and it decreases my friends’ risk of developing coronary disease later” says Dr. Leader.
Exercise is not the only prevention, but limitations are too. “Not to drink to excess. A little bit of alcohol is acceptable, but a lot can actually develop a cardio myopathy where your heart begins to weaken and you can develop a valvular problem and get yourself into congestive heart failure” he says.
The American Heart Association mentions to know the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack. It will allow you to act fast if you or someone you know might be having a heart attack.
“The faster you act, the greater the chances are of surviving a heart attack” says the American Heart Association.
Signs of a heart attack from the American Heart Association website:
Chest pain or discomfort
Upper body pain or discomfort in the neck, jaw, arms, back, or upper stomach
Shortness of breath