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Heart attacks: Know the warning signs

Photo: Antonio_Diaz/iStockphoto

Do you know the warning signs of a heart attack?

It’s important: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that every year, about 735,000 people in the United States have a heart attack.

Common warning signs include chest discomfort, particularly in the center of the chest; an uncomfortable feeling of fullness, squeezing or pain in the chest; discomfort in areas of the upper body, including in the back, neck, jaw or arms; shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort; and feeling lightheaded or nauseated.

Not everyone experiences classic symptoms like chest pain. “Women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain,” the American Heart Association says.

If you believe you or someone you know is having a heart attack, don’t wait. Call 911 immediately – every minute matters.

Stay heart healthy

The AHA says doing the following can help keep your heart healthy:

  • Stay active and exercise regularly. Walking 30 minutes a day can lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
  • Eat healthy foods, including lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Make an appointment with your health care provider to determine your personal risk factor for heart disease.
  • If you smoke, quit. You’ll cut your risk for coronary heart disease in half one year after you’ve stopped smoking.

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