The heart is the organ that pumps blood, with its life-giving oxygen and
nutrients, to all tissues of the body. If the pumping action of the heart
becomes inefficient, vital organs like the brain and kidneys suffer.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. Knowing your risk
factors and warning signs are ways to protect you and your heart.
Are You at Risk?
The American Heart Association has identified several risks for heart
disease. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of
developing coronary heart disease. Some factors are:
- Increasing Age
- Male Sex (Gender)
- Heredity (Including Race)
- High Blood Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Physical Inactivity
- Obesity and Overweight
While you can't control your age, race or gender, you can work to control
the lifestyle habits that fight cardiovascular disease. The Cardiology
Center at TMC has services available that will enable you to evaluate and
monitor your heart health.
What are the warning signs of a heart attack?
Sometimes a heart attack can occur immediately and without warning.
That's why it's important to know the signs:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the
center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes
away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing,
fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include
pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs: These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea
As with men, women's 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.
If you experience symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 for an ambulance
to take you directly to an emergency room.
The Cardiology Center at TMC provides patients an opportunity to manage
their heart health through exercise, education and support.