DHMC Wear Red Day

Staff members at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center celebrate National Wear Red Day last week in honor of American Heart Month.

February is American Heart Month.

According to the American Heart Association, 80% of cardiovascular diseases can be prevented through modest changes to diet and lifestyle.

The association notes that heart disease and stroke symptoms can present themselves differently in women than in men. Women also make up less than half of all clinical trial participants globally, with women of color only accounting for 3%.

“To effectively impact the risk of heart disease in women, we must take action to increase awareness of its symptoms and signs; encourage heart-healthy diets, exercise and cessation of cigarette smoking; and improve access to care particularly in underserved communities,” said Dr. Mark Creager, director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, and past president of the American Heart Association.

“As women may respond differently than men to medications and other interventions, it is necessary for researchers to substantially increase the number of women in clinical trials, and particularly those from minority populations, to identify for them the most effective therapies to prevent and treat heart disease.”

Although heart attack warning signs can be different for everyone, the American Heart Association says knowing these signs can help a person get help faster:

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 the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

Breaking out in a cold sweat.

Nausea.

Lightheadedness.

“If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, initiate the two steps of Hands-Only CPR,” a news release from the American Heart Association says. “Call 911 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of any tune that is 100 to 120 beats per minute. Immediate CPR can double or even triple a person’s chance of survival.”

To treat, beat and prevent heart disease and stroke, the American Heart Association recommends understanding family health history and knowing five key personal health numbers: total cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index.

It also recommends making healthy behavior changes like moving more, eating smart and managing blood pressure.

Sunday, February 23, 2020