2006-02-24 / Community

Senator Smith Announces American Heart Month

State Senator Malcolm Smith recently announced that February is American Heart Month, noting that heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans. He said an estimated 1.2 million people will experience either their first or a recurrent heart attack this year.

“How fitting is it that during the month that contains the ‘Holiday of the Heart’- Valentine’s Day- we are reminded of the importance of a healthy heart,” Senator Smith noted.

Taking steps toward prevention is the most effective way to avoid the risks associated with heart disease. Some of the factors that increase risk are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, lack of exercise, poor nutrition and diabetes.

“American Heart Month brings some much-needed attention to the health of our own hearts. Women especially must recognize that heart disease, while traditionally associated with men, is the leading cause of death for American women. Almost 500,000 women die from cardiovascular disease each year,” Senator Smith said.

Senator Smith stressed the importance of knowing the warning signs that lead to a heart attack. Nearly half of all heart attack victims wait some two hours before seeking help, which is often far too long. Some signs include chest discomfort for more than two minutes; pain radiating to the left arm, neck, back or jaw; sweating and shortness of breath; nausea or vomiting; dizziness or fainting; and palpitations or rapid heart beats.

“The good news here is that heart attacks are almost entirely preventable. The best thing you can do is maintain a healthy and balanced diet, exercise regularly for at least 20 minutes three times a week and avoid stress, smoking and high blood pressure. Simply put, by being smart and staying active, you can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease,” Senator Smith said.

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