February is American Hearth Month
At MedFlight911 Air Ambulance, we urge everyone to take steps to make heart-healthy choices and take steps to reduce their risk of heart disease.
As an air ambulance provider, many of the patients we transport have heart problems (for example, they may have recently suffered a heart attack or stroke). The sad truth is that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every day, 2,200 people die because of heart disease or stroke. Heart disease is also a leading cause of disability.
To stay heart healthy in February and beyond, consider taking the following steps:
- Quit smoking. Smoking is one of the biggest heart disease risk factors. If you stop smoking, you can dramatically lower your risk of heart disease.
- Limit consumption of fats (especially saturated and trans fats) and cholesterol.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Talk to your doctor about what a healthy weight is for you, and, if necessary, the steps you should take to lose weight.
- Drink alcohol in moderation (typically no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men).
- Choose healthy foods, like fish, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and legumes. Eating these foods (and avoiding less healthy foods) can help you maintain a healthy weight and protect your heart.
- Get regular exercise (at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week). Your workouts don't necessarily need to be intense. Walking the dog, gardening, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator can all help keep your heart healthy.
- Reduce stress. There isn't conclusive evidence that stress will reduce your risk of heart disease, but it can improve your overall mental and physical health.
- Get regular checkups with your doctor. He or she will monitor your health, checking your blood pressure and cholesterol and screening your for conditions like diabetes, so that you know if you need to take extra steps to get healthy.
In addition to taking steps to reduce your risk of heart disease, it's also important to know the signs you're suffering heart problems. Common signs of a heart attack include:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Discomfort in your arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
Signs of a stroke include the sudden onset of the following symptoms:
- Numbness or weakness in your face, arm or leg, especially if it occurs on only one side of your body
- Confusion or trouble speaking
- Difficulty seeing
- Problems walking, or a loss of balance or coordination
- A severe headache that doesn't have an obvious cause
If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 right away. Prompt medical attention can help reduce the risk of more serious complications. Better yet, take steps to get heart healthy today can help you avoid an advanced air ambulance trip in the future.
Do you have questions about MedFlight911's air medical transport services? Give us a call at 888-359-1911 to learn more about our services, or get a no-obligation air ambulance quote here.