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Warning Signs & Risk Factors

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Early detection is key to successfully treating heart and vascular diseases and conditions.  Get to know the warning signs and, if you experience one or all of these symptoms, seek treatment immediately.

Warning Signs

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, tight squeezing or pain in the center of chest, lasting more than a few minutes.
  • Pain spreading to shoulders, neck or arms.
  • Chest discomfort, with light headedness, fainting, sweating, nausea, or shortness of breath.

Get help fast, even if the symptoms go away. If you have these symptoms, or see any of them in another person, don’t wait. Call 911!

Risk Factors

Several factors increase the risk of developing blockages in the arteries or vascular system. These blockages can cause heart attacks, angina (chest pain), strokes and claudication (leg pain with walking).

Reducing your risk factors can decrease the chances of getting cardiovascular disease. If you already have heart disease, reducing these factors will decrease the chances that you will develop further blockages.

Risk Factors Beyond Your Control

  • Growing Older: Men over 45 and women over 55 are at an increased risk.
  • Gender: Men have a greater risk of heart disease, women’s risk increases after menopause.
  • Heredity: Children of parents with heart disease are more likely to develop it themselves.
  • Race: African-Americans have more severe hypertension (high blood pressure) than Caucasians, and a higher risk of heart disease.

Risk Factors Within Your Control

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • High or abnormal blood cholesterol levels
  • Physical inactivity
  • Weight
  • Proper diabetes management
  • Stress management
  • Binge drinking
  • High triglyceride level
  • Diet low in fiber
  • Sleep apnea
  • Inflammation

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