American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month

Whoever your heart beats for, our hearts beat for you.

Your heart doesn’t beat just for you. Here are reasons to get it checked.

It’s important to focus on heart health every month of the year, not just in February. As the most important muscle in our body, the heart pumps nutrient-rich blood, helping us function and giving us life. In some cases, our heart provides warning signs of a problem, but many times it doesn’t.

Following are general guidelines that indicate a heart check-up is in order. It’s also important to maintain a relationship with a primary care doctor who can help you in determining cardiac risk factors and direct you to an appropriate heart specialist if needed.

Chest pain or discomfort

This can be a result of cholesterol buildup narrowing the arteries and limiting the blood supply to your heart.

Arrhythmia

Also known as an irregular heartbeat, arrhythmias occur when the heart beats too fast, too slow or with an irregular rhythm. If left undiagnosed, arrhythmias can cause sudden cardiac arrest, resulting in loss of consciousness and death.

Extreme fatigue and dizziness

Ongoing tiredness and dizziness that affect your daily routine can be a sign of a heart attack. If that fatigue increases with physical activity, it may be an indication of heart failure.

Body pain

Depending on where the pain is, it could be the result of a different heart-related condition. Pain in the upper body, including the arms, back, shoulders, neck, jaw or abdomen, are often warning signs of a heart attack. If the pain is located in neck, back, jaw, throat or abdomen it may be a sign of heart disease.

Unexplained shortness of breath

If you often find yourself unable to take complete breaths, it could be a sign of congestive heart failure – meaning the heart doesn’t properly pump blood – or a problem with the valves in your heart.

Family history of heart disease

Get the facts on the health of parents, grandparents and siblings to help you manage heart disease risk.

High cholesterol

Work with your physician to lower cholesterol through diet, exercise, and if needed, medication.
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