February Is Heart Health Month
In the spirit of reminding everyone about the importance of keeping your heart healthy, this post is going to be all about heart health and how to recognize the warning signs of heart attack.
Did You Know?
Every 7 minutes in Canada, someone dies from heart disease or stroke (Statistics Canada, 2011c).
Heart disease and stroke are two of the three leading causes of death in Canada. These statistics are based on 2008 data (the latest year available from Statistics Canada).
What Is Heart Disease?
Cardiovascular diseases are defined as diseases and injuries of the cardiovascular system: the heart, the blood vessels of the heart and the system of blood vessels (veins and arteries) throughout the body and within the brain. Stroke is the result of a blood flow problem in the brain. It is considered a form of cardiovascular disease.
How Can I Tell Someone Is Having a Heart Attack?
- Pain in the chest/ arm, often the left arm. For women, a more common symptom is jaw/neck pain.
- Stomach pain, can feel similar to heartburn
- Shortness of breath
- Anxiety. Some people actually describe feeling ‘an impending sense of doom’
- Nausea and vomiting
Are Symptoms Always Obvious?
Most heart attacks begin with subtle symptoms — with only discomfort that often is not described as pain. The chest discomfort may come and go. Don't be tempted to downplay your symptoms or brush them off as indigestion or anxiety.
Don't "tough out" heart attack symptoms for more than five minutes. Call 911 or other emergency medical services for help. If you don't have access to emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the nearest hospital. Drive yourself only as a last resort, if there are absolutely no other options.
Heart attack symptoms vary widely. For instance, you may have only minor chest discomfort while someone else has excruciating pain. One thing applies to everyone, though: If you suspect you're having a heart attack, call for emergency medical help immediately.
What Can Naturopathic Medicine Do for Heart Health?
One of the central tenants of Naturopathic Medicine is teaching the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine. That means we work to help prevent heart disease BEFORE it happens. We can utilize many tools to help you achieve optimal health:
We'll formulate an individualized treatment plan focusing on your particular risks and needs to significantly decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke.
That being said, there are also many things we can do after a heart attack or stroke to increase healing, decrease recovery time and maximize your quality of life.
Have more questions about what Naturopathic Medicine can do for you and your heart? Take advantage of our Free 15 minute consults to find out more today.
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. ‘Health Information’. http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/c.ikIQLcMWJtE/b.3484021/k.7C85/Heart_Disease.htm
Mayo Clinic. Heart Attack Symptoms: Know what’s a medical emergency. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/in-depth/heart-attack-symptoms/art-20047744
Murray M. & Pizzorno, J.. (1998) Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (2nd Ed.). Heart Disease, pg 500-507. Three Rivers Press.
Godfrey A. & Saunders P.R. (2010) Principles & Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine: Volume I: Botanical Monographs. Cardiovascular System, pg. 81-138. CCNM Press.
I am a Naturopathic Doctor and Doula providing care in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. I have a passion for helping people with their health issues and improving the birth experience for Moms, and their babies. I also have a life long love affair with soccer, curling, and the alto saxophone.