Heart Disease: Risk Factors, Symptoms and Prevention Tips

There’s no better time than American Heart Month to prioritize our heart health. By adopting healthy lifestyle habits early on, you can prevent heart disease and potentially live longer with a much stronger heart. Our long term care team in Pitman NJ has put together a list of heart disease risk factors, symptoms and invaluable prevention tips to be aware of.  

Heart disease risk factors

Fortunately, most of the risk factors listed below can be managed with smart lifestyle choices. For example, smoking and alcohol consumption can be controlled or eliminated entirely. As for the heart disease risk factors that are uncontrollable, like family history and ethnicity, you are at least able to monitor how it will affect you or a family member specifically.

A family history of coronary artery disease (CAD) may require a higher level of monitoring under the following circumstances: 1. If a prior family member with CAD is a male under 55-years-old. 2. If a prior family member with CAD is a female under 65-years-old.

Other risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure or cholesterol
  • High levels of stress and anxiety 
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Excessive caffeine use 
  • Physical inactivity 
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Ethnicity 
  • Age
  • Gender 
  • Family history 

Symptoms of heart disease 

There is a large variety of symptoms to look out for when it comes to heart disease. This makes sense when you think about it because there are many different variations of heart disease, such as arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, cardiomyopathy, and CAD. If you or a loved one experiences any of the symptoms below repeatedly or severely, we recommend consulting a primary physician to diagnose your condition appropriately. 

It’s also important to realize that symptoms in women differ greatly from symptoms in men. Heart disease symptoms for women such as nausea, vomiting and anxiety are often overlooked or confused with other conditions. With that said, it’s important for women to see their primary physician immediately if experiencing any severe symptoms listed below.  

  • Chest pain, pressure or congestion
  • Fluttering or racing heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Coldness or numbness in the limbs
  • Shortness of breath  
  • Fever, chills or cold sweats  
  • Fainting or passing out
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Indigestion or gas-like pain in the chest and stomach
  • Sometimes jaw, neck or back pain

 

Heart disease prevention tips 

  • Choose to live a healthier lifestyle. As we mentioned earlier, many of the risk factors for heart disease can be easily controlled. Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet can make all the difference. Eliminate smoking entirely (if applicable) and foods in your diet that are high in saturated fat content like bacon or sausage. 
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Having a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol numbers are one of the first steps you can take for a healthy heart. Higher levels indicate that your heart is working too hard to pump blood. Your ideal levels may not be someone else’s ideal levels. It’s important to remember that they depend on your unique risk factors and heart history. 
  • Manage stress more effectively. Chronic stress is a serious and often overlooked risk factor for heart disease. If you are constantly overwhelmed or anxious, we recommend speaking to professionals about different stress management methods. 

 

Long-term care in Pitman, NJ 

Here at United Methodist Communities, we are well equipped with a team of licensed nurses, therapists and specialists to manage many complex medical conditions in our senior residents, such as heart disease. We offer the kind of supportive and compassionate long-term care services that can put your mind and the minds of your family members at ease.  


Please call one of our care advisors in Gloucester County to find out how we can meet the needs of your loved one, as well as yourself. To learn more about our long-term care across New Jersey,  please contact United Methodist Communities today.