If someone says to you, “hold on one minute,” it would likely be an easy task for you. A minute is nothing; it flies by (well, unless it’s a minute-long advertisement right before a video you are trying to watch). One minute is also the elapsed time between every death in the United States due to a heart disease-related event.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. The term “heart disease” encompasses several different types of conditions, with coronary artery disease as the most common ailment. Heart disease’s other forms may involve valves in the heart, or the heart pumping poorly, which precipitates heart failure. An estimated 85.6 million people in the country are living with cardiovascular diseases, which include heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, and chest pain.

To further shine a light on this deleterious disease, February is designated as American Heart Health Month. With Valentine’s Day putting many people’s minds onto their heart’s figurative health, it’s also a good time to consider its literal health. 

Not all the ailments associated with heart disease offer clear warning signs – and some don’t even occur within your chest. It’s why regular doctor appointments remain critical – even more so when you are 60 or older, overweight, or have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. 

The more risk factors one experiences, the higher the concern levels should be. While there are numerous symptoms and warning signs, some are more of a deadly harbinger than others. 

One such warning sign is the obvious: chest discomfort. It’s the most common sign of heart danger, possibly denoting a blocked artery or incoming heart attack. The discomfort can come in the form of pain, tightness, or pressure. It’s been described as a pinching or burning feeling that usually lasts longer than a few minutes. 

Another strong indicator is pain that spreads to the arm. It’s a classic heart attack symptom that radiates down the left side of the body. When the pain spreads upward to the throat or jaw, it too could be signaling signs of a heart attack.

Additional alarming signs include nausea, indigestion, heartburn, or stomach pain. Of course, these types of symptoms could signal something more on the innocuous side; but if you are experiencing these along with other heart attack symptoms, or just more at risk for heart problems in general, then something more sinister could be afoot. 

Heart disease is clearly a gigantic problem in the country that results in far too many deaths. The good news is it’s often preventable. A change in lifestyle is the right prescription for curtailing your risk of the disease. Make healthy choices and be proactive about your health. We’ll cover how you can do so in an upcoming blog – so stay tuned!