It’s American Heart Health Month
February is American Heart Health Month, making this an opportune time – no matter your age – to learn more about cardiovascular events and lifestyle modifications that you can make to help lower your risk from experiencing one.
As many of you know, on Jan. 2, Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin, age 24, went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field during a game with the Cincinnati Bengals. On Jan. 12, Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis’s daughter, age 54, died after going into cardiac arrest and being rushed to a hospital.
What is cardiac arrest?
Cardiac arrent results from electrical disturbances that cause the heart to suddenly stop beating the way it should. This sudden, unexpected loss of heart function also results in a sudden loss of breathing and consciousness.
Death can result quickly if steps aren’t taken right away. It can sometimes be reversed if CPR is performed and a defibrillator shocks the heart and restores a normal heart rhythm within a few minutes. Otherwise, the outcome can prove tragic.
Cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack, although almost any known heart condition, including heart attack, can certainly cause cardiac arrest.
What is a heart attack?
Unlike cardiac arrest, a heart attacks occur when circulation is blocked or cut off and blood is no longer supplied to the heart muscle. Physicians may refer to a heart attack as myocardial infarction.
Blockages causing heart attacks are mostly caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Plaque forms when cholesterol combines with fat, calcium, and other substances in the blood. When combined, these elements harden into plaque, which can then rupture, causing a blood clot to form. Large clots, however, can completely block the flow of blood through an artery.
Here’s what you can do.
By reducing your risk factors and knowing signs and symptoms, you can help prevent many types of heart disease. To help lower your risks:
- Get regular – but sensible – exercise most day of the week. (Please check with a doctor before starting an exercise regimen.)
- Avoid nicotine use in any form. (Hopefully, you already knew this.)
- Reduce salt intake, commit to a high-fiber diet, and manage your weight.
- Have regular medical evaluations that include checking blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and, if the physician feels the need, glucose levels. If so indicated, a cardiologist can perform additional tests to further assess your cardiovascular condition.
Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for men and women in the United States. It’s never too soon to have a medical evaluation that can help determine your potential risk factors.
Dr. Adesina is a board-certified Cardiology specialist caring for patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Berthelsen Main Campus, Clear Lake Clinic, and Pearland Clinic.
You may schedule appointments 24/7 by calling 713-442-0000, or self-schedule an in-person appointment or Video Visit online at kelsey-seybold.com/AppointmentsNOW.