SAN DIEGO — February is American Heart Month, a time when the country shines a spotlight on heart disease, which is the number one killer of Americans. It is also a time to understand your risk factors and to make changes so you can start living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Kaiser Permanente San Diego Cardiologist Dr. Jeff Cavendish joins our Laura Cavanaugh to talk about warning signs of heart disease and strategies to maintain a healthy heart.
Every year some 647,000 Americans die from heart disease. That’s why knowing the early warning signs of a heart attack could mean the difference between life and death.
Warning signs of a heart event include pressure and tightness in the chest, paint that travels to the jaw, neck and shoulder, as well as shortness of breath.
“All of those things are very concerning and we really strongly recommend getting to medical attention as soon as possible,” said Cavendish.
Heart disease is largely preventable. The best place to start is with a visit to your doctor to get an assessment of your risk factors. A check of some important numbers can give you a good idea of your risk. These numbers include blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, BMI and waist circumference.
Small lifestyle changes can make a big difference – from eating healthier and looking at labels to moving more, getting better sleep and quitting smoking.
“Losing a little weight, 5 or 10 pounds, exercising a few days a week, ideally every day 30 or 40 minutes, those are huge factors that can help us,” said Cavendish.
Your physician will potentially prescribe medications and advise you how to further reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease so you can live a long, healthy life.
To learn more about how to lower your risk of heart disease, visit www.kp.org/sandiego