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February is American Heart Month

Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2024
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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1 Comments
American Heart Month

Wait, what? February is not just about Cupid?

When we think of the month of February and hearts, Valentine’s Day often comes to mind. However, February is American Heart Month, a time when people are strongly encouraged to focus on heart health.

How did it start?

Like many people, President Lyndon B. Johnson, faced heart issues. In fact, he had his first heart attack at age 47 in the mid-1950s. Unfortunately, President Johnson’s poor lifestyle choices, such as heavy smoking and lack of proper diet and exercise, likely contributed to his series of heart attacks. President Johnson was impacted by his health journey. He would ultimately issue the first proclamation for American Heart Month in 1964.

It continues…

Per www.heart.org, U.S. presidents have annually declared February American Heart Month thereafter. The goal is to raise awareness and support for the fight against heart disease. However, tough times of late are renewing America’s focus on the importance of heart health.

Impact of the national pandemic

The American Heart Association explains that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people delayed or avoided going to the hospital for heart attacks and strokes. This netted poorer outcomes and prompted the campaign, “Don’t Die of Doubt.” This motto is intended to remind people that hospitals are the safest place to go when experiencing symptoms. Or call 911 for help if some of these warning signs are present.

Common heart attack symptoms can include some of the following:

  • Chest discomfort or uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or chest pain
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, the neck, the jaw, or stomach
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
  • Unexplained weakness, fatigue, or weariness
  • Cold sweats or clamminess
  • Nausea or indigestion or abdominal discomfort
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Inability to focus
  • Adrenaline rush or palpitations

Cardiac arrest symptoms can include:

  • Sudden loss of responsiveness
  • No normal breathing

Common stroke symptoms can include:

  • Face drooping, numbness, inability to smile
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty such as slurred speech

 

Note that these are just some common indicators. Physical symptoms can vary from person to person.

“Don’t die of doubt”

Some people delay getting help because they do not realize they are having a heart attack or stroke. Doctors caution that people experiencing suspicious symptoms seek prompt medical evaluation as time is of the essence for the above events. They explain that it is way better to be safe than sorry.

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