10 On Your Side: Heart Health

Heart Attack Risk Factors

Risk factors for heart attack that you can control include:
High blood pressure
High blood cholesterol
Overweight and obesity
Physical inactivity
Diabetes (high blood sugar)

Risk factors that you can't change include:
Age. Risk increases for men older than 45 years and for women older than 55 years (or after menopause).
Family history of early CAD. Your risk increases if your father or a brother was diagnosed with CAD before 55 years of age, or if your mother or a sister was diagnosed with CAD before 65 years of age.
Certain CAD risk factors tend to occur together. When they do, it's called metabolic syndrome. In general, a person with metabolic syndrome is twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes as someone without metabolic syndrome.

Heart Attack Warning Signs

The most common heart attack signs and symptoms are:
Chest discomfort or pain—uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest that can be mild or strong. This discomfort or pain lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
Shortness of breath may occur with or before chest discomfort.
Other signs include nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), vomiting, lightheadedness or fainting, or breaking out in a cold sweat.
If you think you or someone you know may be having a heart attack:
Call 911 within a few minutes—5 at the most—of the start of symptoms.
If your symptoms stop completely in less than 5 minutes, still call your doctor.
Only take an ambulance to the hospital. Going in a private car can delay treatment.
Take a nitroglycerin pill if your doctor has prescribed this type of medicine

HeartAware Risk Assessment

Stroke Risk Factors

The most important treatable conditions linked to stroke are:
High blood pressure. Treat it. Eat a balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise to reduce blood pressure. Drugs are also available.
Cigarette smoking. Quit. Medical help is available to help quit.
Heart disease. Manage it. Your doctor can treat your heart disease and may prescribe medication to help prevent the formation of clots. If you are over 50, NINDS scientists believe you and your doctor should make a decision about aspirin therapy.
Diabetes. Control it. Treatment can delay complications that increase the risk of stroke.
Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). Seek help. TIAs are small strokes that last only for a few minutes or hours. They should never be ignored and can be treated with drugs or surgery.

Stroke Warning Signs

If you see or have one or more of these symptoms, don't wait, call 911 right away:
Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech.
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Treatment can be more effective if given quickly. Every minute counts.

StrokeAware Risk Assessment

Heart Attack and Stroke Information From The American Heart Association

American Stroke Association Web Site

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