- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Itís February: A month when hearts — plush, paper or poster-sized — are in every store we visit, right next to the chocolates.
Itís a month for love and romance and matters of the heart, and thatís why the American Heart Association celebrates February as American Heart Month.
Learning about the symptoms and dangers of a heart attack might not seem like the most romantic of events, but whatís romance if youíre not healthy? The AHA spends all of February reminding people through advertising and promotions that taking care of their hearts, and recognizing a heart attack, can prolong their lives.
For years, the AHA has been working to tell people that heart disease is very real and very serious, and that it kills more women every year than cancer. Somehow, the stereotype was that heart disease and heart attacks were a problem for men, yet women are actually more likely to suffer them.
According to the AHA website, one of the reasons heart attacks are sometimes fatal is that not everyone knows the signs. The classic ďchest painĒ is not the only sign, and some of them might surprise you.
Here are the signs listed on the site:
ü Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
ü Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
ü Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
ü Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
ďAs with men, womenís most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain,Ē according to the site.
The biggest lesson to be learned, and the message that American Heart Month conveys, is to get help right away when the symptoms occur, rather than waiting it out. So many lives could be saved by listening to our bodies.