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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | August 27th, 2017


    This past weekend I had the opportunity to walk in the heart walk sponsored by the American Heart Association. The purpose of the walk is to raise funds to save lives from the country’s No. 1 and No.5 killers – heart disease and stroke. It also brings awareness to heart disease and stroke.

    We can all make a difference in saving our lives and those close to us by recognizing the warning signs.  If you notice any of the warning signs, you need to call 9-1-1.


    Chest discomfort – uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain that last more than a few minutes, that goes away and comes back

    Discomfort on other areas of the upper body – discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach

    Shortness of breath – with or without chest discomfort

    Other signs – breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness


    STROKE WARNING SINGS – Spot a stroke F.A.S.T.*

    Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

    Arm weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

    Speech difficulty – Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand?

    Time to call 9-1-1 – If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately

    For more information on other warning signs, please visit the American Heart Association’s website.

    We can try and reduce our risk of getting a heart attack and getting a stroke by the following:

    1. Know your numbers, especially your blood pressure – 1 in 5 people have high blood pressure and do not know they have high blood pressure.
    2. If you have high blood pressure, make sure that it is controlled. If you are taking medicine and your blood pressure is not controlled, you are at risk for getting all the complications related to high blood pressure. I think all people who have high blood pressure should own a blood pressure monitor.
    3. Be mindful of the foods that you are eating – I love Michael Pollan’s seven words – Eat food, not so much, mostly plants. When we talk about food, I mean real food – try to avoid processed food.
    4. Exercise regularly – It is important to that you do something than nothing whether it 30 minutes or 10 minutes – remember exercise includes aerobics (getting your heart beat up) and strength- training.
    5. Find time for fellowship – There has been discussion that despite social media, people today are lonely than ever. Instead of texting, call a friend. Make time to get together and consider walking. I enjoyed the heart walk and it was great catching up with friends. It truly is good for the heart.


    *source: Information on warning signs came directly from the American Heart Association’s website.

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