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What Do You Do To Protect Your Heart? By Dr. Shani Saks

By Expert June 30, 2009 - 10:40am
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If you are having a heart attack, the faster you can get to the hospital, the less damage will happen to your heart. Every second counts!

Symptoms. You may experience any or all of the following symptoms. They may vary in intensity and may come and go. These symptoms should not be ignored!
•Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the chest usually lasting longer than two minutes.
•Pain radiating to the shoulders, neck, jaw, arms or back.
•Dizziness, fainting, sweating, nausea, shortness of breath or weakness.

Know your family history. If one or more members of your family (parent, sister or brother) have a history of cardiovascular disease, your chances of developing heart disease are increased. Just because three is a family history, however, does not mean that you are doomed to develop the disease yourself. It’s important to separate hereditary from environmental influences. If you have a family history of heart disease, but get adequate exercise, eat a heart healthy diet, and do not smoke, your own risk may be far less than that of other family members.

Age and Gender. As you age, your risk of heart disease increases. Men generally develop coronary artery disease at a much younger age than women, however. Men under 45 are 10 times as likely to develop coronary artery disease as women the same age. This difference between the sexes decreases as people age.

Race. The incidence of heart disease is higher among African Americans than whites. Three times as many African Americans have extremely high blood pressure, a major risk factor.

To learn more about heart disease or to contact a physician at the Arizona Heart Institute visit http://www.azheart.com/ or call (602)266-2200.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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