Wellness Words February 2015

Wellness Words February 2015

HealthLink Littauer’s


Submitted by Wendy Chirieleison, MS Ed

Community Health Educator

Heart Disease

Know The Facts To Lower Your Risk

The term heart disease, according to the Center for Disease Control, refers to three different types of heart conditions.  The most common is coronary artery disease, which can lead to a heart attack.  Other types of heart disease involve the heart valves, or the inability of the heart to pump the way it should.  Some people are born with heart disease and others develop this disease throughout their lives.

The Facts

The CDC reports that every year, 600,000 people die from heart disease, which is one in every four deaths.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women.  About 720,000 people have a heart attack every year.  Of these heart attacks, 515,000 are occurring for the first time and 205,000 are happening in people who have already experienced a heart attack.

The Symptoms

Specialists at Web MD report that symptoms of heart disease will vary based on the type of heart disease you have.  Coronary artery disease occurs when plaque, made up of cholesterol, builds up in the arteries. This causes the arteries to narrow, making it harder for the heart to pump.

The CDC reports that some of the symptoms of coronary artery disease are angina (chest pain or discomfort from the heart not getting enough blood) and arrhythmia (irregular heart beat).  Sometimes a heart attack is the first symptom of coronary artery disease.

Symptoms of a heart attack are:

  • Pressure, heaviness, or pain in the chest, arm or area below the breast bone
  • Discomfort that radiates to the back, arm, throat or jaw
  • A feeling like heartburn, fullness or indigestion
  • Sweating, nausea, vomiting or dizziness
  • Weakness, anxiety or shortness of breath

If you think that you might be experiencing any of these symptoms, CALL 911!  Don’t wait to schedule an appointment with your doctor, as these symptoms can be a precursor to something serious.

Who Is At Risk for Heart Disease?

According to the CDC, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are three key risk factors for heart disease.  Other medical conditions or lifestyle choices can also put people at risk for heart disease including diabetes, overweight or obesity, a high fat and/or high sodium diet, low physical activity, and overuse of alcohol.

Preventing Heart Disease

  • Know Your Numbers:  Lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol can reduce your risk of death due to heart disease.
  • Talk To Your Doctor:  Ask about any exercise or diet changes before you make those changes, and take medications as prescribed.
  • Eat Right:  Eat a diet low in fat, salt, saturated fat and cholesterol.  Add healthier choices such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Don’t Smoke Or Quit Smoking:  Need help?  Call the New York State Smokers Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit nysmokefree.com.
  • Get More Exercise:  At least 30 minutes a day, five times a week.  Breaking the recommended 30 minutes up into three, ten minute intervals will help you ease into this routine.

Another great way to get started is to join HealthLink’s Wellness Walkers. The group meets once each month and walks indoors during the winter.  When better weather arrives, the group takes advantage of local outdoor walking trails.

Wondering where you can get additional exercise in this winter weather? Stop by HealthLink to pick up this year’s Winter Recreation Resources guide, featuring a variety of indoor and outdoor recreation opportunities, many of which are free!

For more information, contact your healthcare provider or HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120.  You can e-mail us at healthlink@nlh.org, see our website at nlh.org, or visit our NEW wellness center at 2 Colonial Court in downtown Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.