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It’s fitting that February is heart month. The stores are full of candy hearts and balloons making it hard to overlook. But this February, we want you to consider your anatomical heart, not just your emotional one.

About every 43 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a heart attack. Would you know a heart attack if you had one? The signs are not what we see on TV where all the sudden someone grabs their chest, can’t breathe, and drops to the floor. In fact, the symptoms can be so mild that they are usually ignored. Know the signs and pay attention to your body. Call 911 immediately if you notice even one of the following:

* Chest pain or discomfort – like a weight on your chest, or a “Charlie horse” in your chest

* Sudden upper body pain- can be in the neck, jaw, upper back, arms or stomach

* Shortness of breath

* Cold sweats

* Unexplained tiredness or fatigue

* Sudden dizziness or lightheadedness

* Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)


Heart attack victims often will excuse these symptoms away as heartburn, or feelings of stress or being overwhelmed or overexerted. The symptoms can come and go or last for several minutes.

The most important thing is to seek care immediately. Most people will survive a heart attack. Your ability to recover depends on how quickly you receive treatment. So don’t dismiss what your body is trying to tell you. One truth to all the heart metaphors this time of year is that the heart really is resilient. It can continue to function through parts may be damaged. With proper treatment and lifestyle changes, further damage can be limited or prevented.


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