Shelley VanLare

Are you heart healthy?

Health and Wellness

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February is Heart Health month!  How much do you know about keeping your heart healthy?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men  and women in the US.  About 600,000 americans die from heart disease every year.  Heart disease is the term used for several types of heart problems.

Am I at risk?

47% of American adults have at least one of the three major risk factors – high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking tobacco.  The more risk factors the higher the risk for developing heart disease.  Other risks are diabetes, not exercising, unhealthy diet, obesity and family history.

You can exercise if you have heart disease

Moderate exercise (approved by your doctor if needed) is important in controlling heart disease.

Emotions can affect  your risk of heart disease

Research shows a link between heart disease and high levels of stress and hostility.  Stress increases hormone levels and puts higher demands on your heart.

How many American wills have a heart attack in 2019?

About 735,000 Amercians have a heart attack every year.  That’s enough people to fill the largest college football stadium 5 times!  People who have had a first heart attack are more likely to have another one.

Heart disease can run in families

Family members share genetics, but also important, they share life behaviors, lifestyles and eating habits that influence your risk for heart disease.  Your risk increases when there is family history of heart disease and you have adopted unhealthy life styles such as smoking, poor diet and not exercising.

Warning signs of a heart attack

  • Pain/discomfort in the jaw, neck or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling weak, light-headed or faint

Other symptoms of a heart attack could include unusual or unexplained tiredness, pain the upper abdomen, nausea and vomiting.  If you or anyone you’re with shows any warning signs call 911 right away.

Shelley VanLare

Shelley VanLare

Contact Shelley VanLare at with questions about heart health or heart disease.  Shelley is a Nurse Educator at the Arc of Monroe.