The hearts you see everywhere during February aren’t just for Valentine’s Day. Some of them have an extremely important cause behind them, American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. But, the good news is that there are measures you can start doing now to protect yourself from the often silent killer, as well as common symptoms to recognize in order to stop heart disease and related conditions from progressing. Keep reading to learn more.
Signs of Heart Disease
It’s important to know that heart disease is more of an umbrella term used to describe a range of conditions and diseases. Heart diseases and their symptoms include:
- Blood vessel disease, including coronary artery disease: chest pain, tightness, pressure, discomfort, shortness of breath, pain, numbness, coldness in the legs or arms. Neck, jaw, throat, or back pain.
- Heart rhythm problems or arrhythmias: chest fluttering, racing or slow heartbeat, chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, feeling light-headed or dizzy, fainting.
- Congenital heart defects (ones you’re born with): pale gray or blue skin, swollen legs, abdomen, or eyes. Shortness of breath during feeds in infants, which leads to poor weight gain.
- Heart valve disease.
- Heart infection: Fever, fatigue, swollen legs or abdomen, dry cough, skin conditions.
- Disease of the heart muscle: Swollen legs, ankles, feet. Fatigue, fluttering or irregular heartbeats.
Preventing Heart Disease
Although some forms of heart disease can’t be prevented, like heart defects, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to improve or prevent some heart diseases, such as:
- Don’t smoke.
- Keep high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and weight in check.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes per day, five to seven days per week.
- Eat a diet low in salt and saturated fat.
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Lower and manage stress levels.
How Hospice Can Help
Hospice and palliative care are at the heart of helping patients live out their final days, weeks, and/or months in a setting that makes them as comfortable as possible. Hospice also offers support services and counseling to the family members of hospice patients. Contact us today to learn more.