No one is going to take care of your health but you, and what better time to start then now. February is known as National Heart Health Month, according to the American Heart Association. Carol Berger, APRN, of Elsberry’s Mercy Clinic says, “It is better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to our health.”
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, one in four deaths are caused by heart disease. The good news with this is that heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.
Women and heart attack causes and symptoms tend to differ from those of men. This in turn tends to lead to misdiagnoses in some women. Berger adds, “While the most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort for both sexes, women are more likely to have atypical symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain.” According to the AHA website, women face greater complications from attempts to restore blood flow because their blood vessels tend to be smaller; they are older and have increased rates of risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and race.
By making February American Heart Month the AHA hopes to raise awareness about heart disease and how people can prevent it, both at home and in the community. Here are a few ideas to help individuals, 1) families are encouraged to make small changes, like using spices to season their food instead of salt; and 2) motivate teachers and administrators to make physical activity a part of the school. Students graduating from high school are now required to have a half a credit of Health on their transcripts. When contacted about this requirement, Kim Jones, Health Teacher at EHS said, “Students are now required to learn about healthy habits, this allows them to start good habits early in life”.
Finally, Berger would like to add, “To prevent any medical conditions a yearly physical is suggested so that if something is not right in the medical screening then further tests can be ordered and a proper diagnosis can be made.” Contrary to popular belief Berger will be staying on at the Mercy Clinic in Elsberry so contact the office at (573)898-9100 for your appointment.