A: February is American Heart Month, a time to pay greater attention to heart disease, which kills more than 597,000 Americans each year and is the No. 1 killer of women. If you notice that ordinary physical activity causes you to feel undue fatigue, heart palpitations, difficult or labored breathing or chest pain, you may be have a cardiovascular problem — including heart disease. Left untreated, these symptoms may lead to a heart attack. The American Heart Association shares the following warning signs of a heart attack.
• Discomfort in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes, or which goes away and returns, may be a sign of a heart attack. It may feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
• Pain or discomfort in other upper body areas, such as one or both arms, neck, back or stomach can also be a warning sign.
• Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort, may also indicate a heart attack.
Other indicators include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. Women are somewhat more likely than men to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
To learn if you or a loved one could benefit from additional resources, care or support, please contact HCI Care Services at (641) 856-5502 or visit www.hcicareservices.org.
Information provided by HCI Care Services, 103 East Van Buren St., Centerville, Iowa; the American Heart Association; and the CDC.