June 19, 2024


Health know-how

Staying on top of your heart health


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February is American Heart Month, and in this week’s Healthy Living we want to highlight cardiovascular disease which is the leading cause of death in the United States and the #1 killer of women.

Claire Verity is the president of Regence BlueShield and chair of the Go Red for Women movement in Puget Sound. She says her own experience is one we can all learn from.

“I was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia, and it was a real wake-up call for me,” she said. “I didn’t understand the importance of talking with your physician about a very minor symptom I was having, so it really is about awareness. One is too many.”

Research shows that heart attacks are on the rise in younger women and data from one study suggests Gen Z and Millennials are less likely to be aware of their greatest health threat, including knowing the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke.

“The number thing you can do is make sure you go in for that preventative service – we’re all seeing people going to happy hour a little more frequently than they have in the past or limiting physical exercise or limiting physical exercise because they don’t want to be among other folks or choosing not so healthy diet options those are things that over time build up and can contribute to heart disease,” said Verity.

Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest – lasting more than a few minutes – uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Other symptoms include shortness of breath, pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. 

Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

You should know your family history for heart disease. Know your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. Eat healthy, manage stress and sleep, exercise. And if you smoke, seek out resources to help you quit.


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