By Joni Erlewein, Nurse Practitioner, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial
February is heart health month. At Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, our staff is committed to sharing as much information during this month and year-round about the things we can do to keep our hearts healthy and reduce diseases for ourselves and our loved ones.
Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. They happen frequently, striking often out of the blue. In fact, a person in the United States suffers a heart attack every 42 seconds. In less than the amount of time it takes to heat a cup of water in the microwave, someone in America is suffering a heart attack.
Women account for nearly half of all heart attacks and over a lifetime, heart disease kills five times as many women as breast cancer.
Women’s experience with heart disease can differ in important ways from men’s. Women tend to get heart attacks about 10 years later in life than men and women are twice as likely to die within the first few weeks after suffering from a heart attack.
While chest pain or discomfort are common in men and women, women are more likely than men to experience other more common symptoms that include:
By being proactive, we can prevent heart disease. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to learn about your personal risk for heart disease.
If you smoke, stop. In just one year after quitting cigarettes, a person can cut the risk of heart disease by 50 percent. And those who want to quit tobacco but find it a challenge, Gerber Memorial has some free programs that can help people begin the journey toward being tobacco-free.
Start an exercise program. Just walking 30 minutes a day can lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Modify your family’s diet if needed. Gerber Memorial has registered dietitians and healthy eating programs that aim to provide information about heart-smart substitutes, healthy snacks and for prep and cooking methods that can help promote wellness and health.
Join Gerber Memorial for “Your Heart Matters,” a special heart health event designed to empower you and provide proactive tips and information on heart disease, from health screenings to nutrition, on Saturday, February 17, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Tamarac, 1401, West Main, Fremont.
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