Heart Attack Warning Signs
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, causing someone to gasp dramatically, clutch her heart and drop to the ground. No one has any doubts about what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often the people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are some of the signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
• 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. This feeling may occur with or without chest discomfort.
• Other signs of discomfort. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
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.
Stroke Warning Signs
Stroke is a medical emergency. Learn to recognize a stroke, because time lost is brain lost. Warning signs include:
• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
• Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
Make Good Food Choices
Healthy food habits can help you reduce three risk factors for heart attack and stroke — high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure and excess body weight.
Set the stage for success by:
• Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, cereal and grain products, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, legumes, nuts, fish, poultry and lean meats.
• Mixing one-half regular soda with one-half diet soda until you get used to the taste of diet soda.
• Eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol.
• Enjoying a large glass of ice water, hot tea or another calorie-free beverage. Garnish with a twist of lemon or lime and sip slowly.
• Dividing the extra portions of recipes that serve a large number of people into containers to eat throughout the rest of the week.
• Eating with other people. You’ll eat less than if you eat alone.
• Knowing your snack “triggers” and plan ahead. Be ready with healthful snacks to fight the urge for high-calorie/high-saturated-fat foods and trans-fat foods. Grab pre-cut vegetables such as carrots and celery when you’re on the run.
Need more motivation? Join www.ChooseToMove.org
, the American Heart Association’s free women’s program that helps you increase your physical activity and improve your eating habits.