Keeping your heart healthy


Uncontrolled blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are four times more likely to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure.

Did you know?

African Americans have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high blood pressure, which puts them at higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. About two of every five African Americans have high blood pressure, and fewer than half of them have it under control.

High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why having your blood pressure checked regularly is important. It’s easy to get your blood pressure checked. You can get screened at your doctor’s office and drugstores or even check it yourself at home, using a home blood pressure monitor.

If you know you have high blood pressure, take these steps to help get it under control:

  • Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and talk about how you can reach your goal. Work with your health care team to make sure you meet that goal. Track your blood pressure over time.
  • Take your blood pressure medicine as directed. Set a timer on your phone to remember to take your medicine at the same time each day. If you are having trouble taking your medicines on time or paying for your medicines, or if you are having side effects, ask your doctor for help.
  • Quit smoking—and if you don’t smoke, don’t start.

Reduce sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much sodium, which can raise blood pressure. Work with your health care team to make sure you meet your blood pressure goal.

February is American Heart Month

You can reduce your risk and improve your heart health by following the ABCS:
• A – Take Aspirin as directed by your health care provider.
• B – Control your Blood pressure.
• C – Manage your Cholesterol.
• S – Don’t Smoke.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

The five major symptoms of a heart attack are:
• Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back.
• Feeling weak, light-headed or faint.
• Chest pain or discomfort.
• Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.
• Shortness of breath.

If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, you should call 9–1–1 immediately.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention