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Heart Health: Prevention, Signs & Resources

Heart Health: Prevention, Signs & Resources

Raising awareness about heart health can save lives! February is recognized as American Heart Month. It’s important to remember steps toward prevention and learn the signs and symptoms of heart disease.

Steps toward Prevention

  • Schedule an annual visit with your healthcare provider to discuss risk factors, family history, and lifestyle changes.
  • Know your numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
  • Eat less sugar and simple carbohydrates.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid smoking.

Men: Know the Signs

When you think of heart attack symptoms, chest pain and discomfort immediately come to mind. But, there are other signs we should also be familiar with that may be less obvious.

  • Upper body discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Heart palpitations

Women’s Heart Health

Heart disease and stroke cause one in three deaths among women every year – more than all cancers combined. While heart attack survival rates have improved overall, women are diagnosed less frequently and are less likely to seek prompt medical care.

Signs and symptoms of a heart attack for women are different and often less noticeable than men. Women are less likely to experience typical chest pain during a heart attack. Symptoms often include:

  • Presence of vague chest discomfort
  • Jaw pain
  • Back pain
  • Heaviness of the arms
  • Lightheadedness
  • Burning in the upper abdomen
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling flushed
  • Clammy skin
  • Unusual or unexplained fatigue
  • Abnormal belching

Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T.

The American Heart Association uses the acronym “F.A.S.T.” to help remember stroke symptoms. These simple steps can help you quickly determine if someone is about to experience a stroke.

  • Face drooping. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Dose one arm drift downward?
  • Speech difficulty. Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 9-1-1. If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Detecting these symptoms early is crucial in ensuring survival of a heart attack or stroke. Remember, if you think you’re having a heart attack or stroke – call 911 immediately. Emergency medical personnel can begin life-saving treatment right away, even before you get to the hospital.


In addition to speaking regularly with your healthcare provider, Valley Health and the American Heart Association have resources available to help you stay informed about heart health!

Valley Health Heart & Vascular

American Heart Association: More Facts, Signs & Symptoms