During February’s American Heart Month, physicians at Lakeview Regional Medical Center are encouraging members of the Northshore community to take practical steps to get their heart health back on track, and be aware of possible heart disease risk factors. In the United States, 1 out of every 3 deaths is caused by cardiovascular disease. Most who die suddenly from cardiovascular related disease have no previous symptoms, because of this, it is important to be aware of several controllable risk factors, including: smoking, high LDL (bad cholesterol) and low HDL (good cholesterol), uncontrolled high blood pressure, and physical inactivity.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death amongst women and men, but for women, the risk is greater and the symptoms are less obvious. “Most people believe that the first sign of heart attack is signaled by chest tightness and discomfort radiating down the left arm, and that may be true if you happen to be a man,” states Martha Carr, M.D. , General and Diagnostic Cardiologist, Lakeview Regional Medical Center. “However heart attack symptoms experienced by women can differ vastly than those noted in men, and therefore are often under-diagnosed. Our goal as physicians is to teach our patients to protect themselves from heart disease. They must understand the risk factors and be able to recognize both the traditional and the lesser known symptoms.”
Heart attack symptoms in women include:
- Clammy skin
- Pain in abdomen or upper back
- Shortness of breath
The American Heart Association has conducted studies showing that if a patient arrives at the hospital within the “golden hour,” chances of receiving life-saving medications are doubled. At Lakeview Regional, cardiac patients have access to the Heart Center through the emergency room. Patients with symptoms of cardiac emergencies are fast-tracked, whether they arrive via ambulance or the emergency door. A member of the Heart Center team works with the emergency physicians to help diagnose and transfer the patients, as needed.
“Remember it’s never too late to start taking control of your own health. With advances in medical technology and a healthcare professional’s help, you can reach your health goals,” says Carr. The Lakeview Regional Medical Center website has a free heart health assessment tool that helps break down core issues and can assist patients in working with a cardiovascular team to formulate a better heart health plan.