February is American Heart Month: Know the Warning Signs and Your Risk for a Heart Attack

February is American Heart Month and Odessa Regional Medical Center (ORMC) wants you to know the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack for yourself, your loved ones and those around you.

Over 800,000 people die in the U.S. each year from a heart attack. However, on average, 50% of these patients displayed, but ignored, the warning signs. Recognizing the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack, along with understanding your risk factors and seeing a doctor for early diagnosis, can save a life. Risk factors can include a family history of cardiovascular disease, using tobacco products, being overweight or obese, and more.

 Early signs and symptoms can include pain that travels down one or both arms, jaw pain, excessive fatigue, anxiety, nausea, back pain, shortness of breath, chest pressure, squeezing, aching or burning, and feeling of fullness.

 Heart attack symptoms can differ between men and women. According to the American College of Cardiology, symptoms in women can mirror those of other illnesses and health issues and women are less likely to seek immediate medical care and therefore more likely to die. These symptoms can include exhaustion, nausea, dizziness, stomach pain and upper back pain that travels up into the jaw.

 Risk factors can include a family history of cardiovascular disease, using tobacco products, being overweight or obese, and more.

 Heart attacks do not always mean pain or pressure in the chest. You should be aware of atypical presentations, such as difficult or labored breathing, pain that spreads above the jawbone or into the lower body, or a sharp, “knife-like” pain that occurs with coughing and breathing.

 Vascular screenings and cardiac scans can also provide important information about your heart health. A vascular screening provides information about your circulation and risk of heart disease and stroke and a cardiac scan can detect heart problems before symptoms occur.

 If you’d like to learn more about your heart health, ORMC will be offering both of these non-invasive, life-saving procedures, an AngioScreen and HeartView scan, for $100 during the month of February. Tests do not require a physician’s order and no insurance will be filed.

 Facts, statements and information in this release have been provided by the American College of Cardiology.

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