Understanding the Signs of a Healthy Heart

With a week still to go in American Heart Month, we wanted to address a key goal of healthy heart approaches: Avoiding heart attacks.

A well-run workplace wellness program can help focus on many components of healthy heart behavior: Exercise, stress reduction, regular movement, weight reduction, and more. But as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out: “A crisis often strikes without warning.” Further, “Preparing for a potential heart attack now could save a life later.”

Any of these tips can be part of the awareness that accompanies a workplace wellness program:

  • “Know the risks. Be educated about the risks you and your loved ones face. Certain behaviors and conditions can increase your risk for a heart attack, including smoking, having uncontrolled high blood pressure, being overweight, and eating an unhealthy diet.”
  • “Recognize the signs. Heart attacks look and feel different in women than they do in men. Both men and women may feel chest pain when having a heart attack, but women are more likely to also experience shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and pain in the back, neck, or jaw. About 1 in 5 heart attacks are called ‘silent’ heart attacks, which means you’re having a heart attack but don’t know it.”
  • “Be safe, not sorry. Many heart attacks start slowly with relatively mild pain. That keeps many people from calling 911 as soon as they should. Make an agreement with loved ones that you will call 911 as soon as anyone experiences any of the signs of a heart attack. Don’t hesitate: acting fast can save a life.”
  • “Focus on prevention. It pays to be prepared in case a heart attack happens, but the best case scenario is to never experience a heart attack at all. You can help prevent heart attack from happening by eating healthfully, getting enough physical activity, not smoking, staying at a healthy weight, and managing other health conditions like high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes. Reach out to your loved ones and commit to making these healthy changes together.”