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February is Heart Disease Awareness Month

Canton, NY in honor of Heart Disease Awareness month, St. Lawrence County Public Health would like to share strategies for preventing heart disease and encourage residents to live heart healthy lives.

Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups? Every year, about 659,000 people in the United States die from heart disease— that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

Heart disease encompasses a variety of diseases affecting the heart. Coronary artery disease is the most common type, which can cause heart attack, chest pain, heart failure, and arrhythmias. Coronary artery disease occurs when plaque builds up in your arteries. When this happens, your arteries can narrow over time, reducing the blood flow to the heart.

Symptoms vary depending on the type of heart disease. Often, chest discomfort or a heart attack is the first sign. Symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain;
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back;
  • Weakness, light-headedness, nausea, or a cold sweat
  • Pain or discomfort in the arm or shoulder; and
  • Shortness of breath

The good news is people who make healthy lifestyle changes and properly manage their health conditions can lower their overall risk for heart disease and heart attack.

To lower the risk for heart disease, you should:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Limit alcohol use
  • Get enough physical activity, even just 5 minutes of activity a day has real health benefits!   
  • Eat a healthy diet

By living a healthy lifestyle you also help manage your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels, in addition to preventing heart disease and heart attack. While it is essential to see a health care professional if you have symptoms or risk factors related to heart disease, research shows that taking a little time each day to promote a healthy lifestyle can help improve your long-term heart health.

For more information on how you can prevent heart disease, visit