February is National Heart Health Month, and all month long health professionals are focusing on your heart.
Heart disease is the number one killer in the country. There is also a high rate of heart disease here in the Valley, specifically in women. There are a significant amount of cases in men, too, but they often go undiagnosed.
Obesity, smoking and diabetes are all risk factors and are conditions we see a lot of in the Valley.
Dr. Ann Connor, cardiac surgeon from the Trumbull Regional Medical Center and Sharon Regional Medical Center, said women with heart disease see symptoms that are typically associated with the illness. Things like arm pain, cold sweats fatigue and nausea are just some of those.
The cause of heart disease can be traced by to genetics and lifestyle. And while we bring more awareness to the problem during February, Connor said changing the way you treat your body can’t stop at the end of the month.
“Worrying about it in February is fine but then going back to your old ways in March is not helpful because these things have consequences. These things will catch up with you,” Connor said.
Heart disease is something you can live with if it is caught in time. The first step is prevention and then early treatment.
Taking a walk and changing your diet may sound like simple steps, but those small changes could have a huge impact on your health. We should be exercising 30 minutes, three times a week at least.
“Once you have damaged your heart, even if you’re alive, you are so limited. You can’t do anything. Just dealing with heart disease and dealing with things that cause it like obesity, diabetes and smoking,” Connor said.