Know the signs of a heart attack or stroke

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) – June is Men’s Health Awareness Month – WBKO News will provide a series of men’s health stories to raise awareness of men’s health and wellness issues .

With the stressful year we’ve all been through, it is common knowledge that stress is bad for your health, especially for heart health.

WBKO spoke with Dr. Muhammad Akbar, a cardiologist from Western Kentucky Heart and Lung, about heart health and why you might want to avoid delaying your next appointment / exam.

“It’s very important that we take an opportunity like this to get information out to the public, because unless we know what can potentially go wrong, people won’t really pay attention. So if you look at the statistics on heart disease in the United States, heart disease is the number one killer of men in the United States. And if we break the United States down by different rates of heart attacks and heart events, in fact Kentucky is in the top percentile for which men have a very high risk of heart attack and death, ”said the Dr Akbar. “So it’s definitely something that needs to be addressed. As far as you know screening is concerned, I think there are some background risk factors to be aware of that increase the risk of heart disease. They therefore obviously include modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. The only real risk factor that cannot be changed is family history. So we need to know if there was anyone in our families who had heart disease or a heart attack before the age of 55, if they were abandoned, or before the age of 65. . And this, again, underlines that heart disease is by and large, much more common in men.

Dr Akbar says there are many factors that play into heart health, and it’s best to have an established relationship with a caregiver who can chart and track various vital signs on a regular basis.

“Other major risk factors are high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. So, for people who are at risk for heart disease based on any of the risk factors, the first thing would be to go get tested to make sure they don’t have high cholesterol. For people over the age of 20, it is recommended that you take a cholesterol check-up at least every five years. And another thing that can still go unnoticed, it bothers people because most of the time it is a silent condition like high blood pressure. It is therefore important to make sure that we maintain blood pressure control. When it comes to men, in particular, you know there is usually a shyness in seeking routine medical care, I think it’s very important to establish a relationship with a primary care provider, ”said Akbar.

“Risk factors are linked to lifestyle. Obesity and overweight are therefore certainly a significant risk factor. We must therefore reduce our calorie intake. We also need to be careful with exercise. Therefore, it is generally recommended that people have at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity or at least 75 minutes per week of more intense physical activity. So they need to have a good level of activity and when it comes to diet, I think it’s very important to realize that this plays a huge role in our overall well-being, especially in terms of cardiovascular health. So in general we should try to cut down on foods high in sugars, sodium and fat. Now, not all fats are the same. So we generally worry more about trans fats or saturated fats. But there are healthier fats that can be found in nut and avocado foods like that, that wouldn’t be so bad. But overall, I think we as a community need to increase our consumption of fruits and vegetables, ”Akbar said.

A CDC statistics say every 40 seconds a heart attack occurs in the United StatesWhat are the signs and symptoms of a heart attack or stroke that men should watch out for?

The unfortunate thing is that most of the time people don’t get a warning. So about half of people who have had a heart attack, this is the first time they realize they have a heart problem. And often people don’t understand the symptoms. What I try to do for my patients is during counseling that they shouldn’t really focus on pain as a symptom, ”Akbar said. “Most heart disease patients tend to have pressure or tightness that can involve anywhere from their jaw, neck, across their chest and sometimes also the upper part of their stomach, which can last for several years. , you know, minutes. So that’s something that should give rise to concern in this regard. Sometimes this is associated with symptoms of being unwell or a cold sweat, which should definitely sound the alarm bells anytime someone fears a heart attack and stroke. Another important thing is that you want to call 911 for medical attention. This is not a situation where you want to take the liberty of entering on your own.

Preventive care is the basis of how we can identify if we have any health problems that put us at risk for heart disease. Second, I think you are too young to have a heart attack, I have had patients as young as 24 who have had massive heart attacks where they were at high risk of dying. So it is clear that in our area of ​​Kentucky heart disease is very common. So if someone has dangerous symptoms, they shouldn’t give it up and think about it, that it can’t be me.

“Well, you know, some people just took it as their faith that they have a strong family history. Or if they smoke, they can do anything. And I generally advise my patients that being proactive is going to be very important. Even though we have a family history that puts us at risk for heart disease, living a better lifestyle makes a huge difference. And quitting smoking is always an option. And it’s actually never too late to quit smoking, because studies have shown that as soon as you stop smoking, your risk of heart disease starts to drop pretty quickly, ”said Dr Akbar.

Find out more about Western Kentucky Heart and Lung and Dr Akbar click here.

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