Heart Health FAQ

Heart Health FAQ

What is heart failure?

When you are diagnosed with heart failure it means that your heart is not functioning the way it’s supposed to, and it’s having trouble pumping blood throughout your body. Signs of heart failure include shortness of breath and swelling in your ankles or feet. You also may have a difficult time sleeping or feel like you need to sleep in a recliner rather than in your bed. This is because your blood is not being transported through your body effectively due to heart disease, something that is quite treatable but requires medical attention.

When should I start worrying about heart disease?

Heart disease is something people of all ages should take into consideration. Even young people can have heart problems, obesity and diabetes. Plaque starts building up in your arteries at a young age, especially so for people who have diabetes and smoke. It’s important to maintain a healthy diet and good exercise habits at an early age. Staying active is vital, as well as making healthier choices on a daily basis.

What are other warning signs of a heart attack besides chest pain?

Chest pain is often a sign of a heart attack, but there are subtle warning signs that can occur without any chest pressure or pain. You may experience pain or discomfort in one or both of your arms, back, neck or even jaw. You also may feel lightheaded or short of breath and nauseated. Take these indicators seriously and seek medical help immediately if you experience any of these.

What if my heart is beating very fast? Am I having a heart attack?

Your heart rate can increase for several reasons. It may increase with moderate to strenuous exercise. You may also feel like your heart is racing after having too much caffeine. Sometimes people experience palpitations or an irregular heartbeat, called an arrhythmia, once in a while. This is not cause for concern unless it occurs very frequently and affects how your heart works. If this is the case, you should see a cardiologist for treatment.

If heart disease runs in my family, what can I do to improve my heart’s health?

There are plenty of options available to improve your heart’s health. Eating a healthy diet that’s low in fatty foods and cholesterol, exercising moderately a few times a week, and maintaining a healthy weight are in your control and can help your heart to be healthier even though you are at risk for heart disease. If you are a smoker, the sooner you stop smoking, the better it is for your heart and overall health.

How does exercising after a heart attack help my heart’s health?

Being active helps to strength your heart. Your doctor is a great source to help you formulate an exercise plan that is right for you as you recover. It may begin with very light activity, such as walking around the block, and then gradually increase the strenuousness of your workout. Exercise not only may increase your  life span after a heart attack, but there are mental health benefits as well.

What is peripheral artery disease?

Peripheral artery disease is plaque buildup in your arteries and is a sign of heart disease. The plaque buildup can lead to pain in the muscles of your legs. People with this condition are at a greater risk for heart attack or stroke. If you experience this symptom, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor especially if you smoke or have diabetes.

Does having diabetes hurt my heart health?

Diabetes and heart disease have coinciding risk factors. Even if you are taking medicine to control your blood sugar level, anyone with diabetes is more prone to develop cardiovascular disease.  You can lower your risk of heart problems by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising a few times a week, eating a healthy diet and, if you smoke, quit smoking.