SAN ANTONIO — American Heart Month may have just wrapped up, but your heart health should be a focus year-round.
Heart disease is the most common cause of death for both men and women here in the U.S. it can show up in a number of ways such as poor internal structure of the heart, problems with heart rhythm and heart failure.
"The most common one and the one that most people are familiar with is coronary artery disease. And that's what causes heart attacks. That's when there's a blockage in the arteries that feed the heart," said Dr. Dawn Hui who is an Associate Professor of Cardiac Surgery at UT Health San Antonio, and a cardio thoracic surgeon with University Health.
She says when it comes to heart attacks to look for the warning signs.
Dr Hui added, "Severe left chest pain. But many people don't have that very clear cut sign. They may tend to have more subtle symptoms such as feeling nauseated or lightheaded, feeling short of breath. For women and people with diabetes they tend to not have pain."
Some of the risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and smoking. But what about vaping?
Dr. Hui added, "Vaping is pretty new. We don't know yet. We don't have enough studies yet on whether vaping affects the risk of heart disease in the same way that tobacco use does."
According to the American Heart Association every year 436,000 Americans die from a cardiac arrest. More than 350,000 of them occur outside of the hospital. 10,000 cardiac arrests occur in the workplace. But only 50 percent of people can locate an automated external defibrillator, or AED at work.
Dr. Hui stressed, "CPR can improve the odds of somebody surviving a cardiac arrest. And without CPR, the odds of sort of surrounding a cardiac arrest are about 12 percent. And with CPR that's done early and effectively, that those odds can double."
Dr. Hui also says getting 150 minutes of exercise a week is a great way to lower your risk of heart disease.
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