This February is national heart health awareness month and we have reached out to the experts to learn more. Greene County Health writers Autumn Nonte and Liz Blauvelt discuss the importance of heart health for your families and communities.
February is heart month and a great time to reflect on what we can all do for our families and ourselves aimed at improving cardiovascular health and preventing heart attack and stroke. This is especially important for Hoosiers as heart disease is the leading cause of death in the state of Indiana. Indiana is also ranked 34th in the nation for incidence of stroke. Cardiovascular disease is a condition in which plaque builds up in arteries. Arteries are a type of blood vessel that feed vital organs with oxygen-rich blood. As plaque builds up in the arteries there is decreased or complete loss of oxygen supply to vital organs, such as the brain and heart. Cardiovascular disease can ultimately lead to conditions such as stroke and heart attack.
There are many factors which play into the development of cardiovascular disease, some of which are controllable such as diet, stress, exercise, smoking, and alcohol intake. Risk factors that are not controllable include family history and age. Many other health conditions also play a role in the development and management of cardiovascular disease such as your cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Understanding risks factors and making lifestyle changes can significantly impact overall health and empower each of us to live longer healthier lives.
Those individuals ready to make lifestyle changes should first make an appointment with their primary health care provider. Primary care providers are able to provide you with risk stratification by assessing family history, age, lifestyle habits, labs, weight, and blood pressure measurements. For more information regarding lifestyle changes and cardiovascular risks factors go to: www.heart.org.
This information will ultimately help you and your primary care provider implement a safe and sustainable plan to improve your overall health. In addition, your primary health care provider has information and resources pertaining to smoking cessation, nutrition, and wellness counseling. Greene County General Hospital offers free smoking cessation classes and provide free nicotine replacement every Monday at the hospital. Call (812)-847-5210 for more information.
Heart attack symptoms may include: uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest, pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back pain, neck/jaw pain, and/or stomach pain, shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort. Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, vomiting and/or lightheadedness.
Stroke symptoms may include: Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, particularly on one side of the body. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, trouble seeing or blurred/double vision in one or both eyes, sudden difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, or sudden severe headache with no known cause. Cardiovascular disease can lead to life-threatening events and individuals experiencing any of these symptoms should dial 911 and seek immediate medical treatment.
Greene County Health Westgate would be glad to provide you with additional information regarding cardiovascular disease and any other healthcare needs. Feel free to call Greene County Health Westgate and schedule an appointment at (812) 863-4250 or stop by the clinic as a walk-in patient (Monday-Thursday from 7:00am-5:00pm).