February marks the start of Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Heart Month is a time to raise awareness and increase understanding of heart health. It is also an opportunity for those living with heart conditions to get the support and resources they need to live healthy and fulfilling lives. Family and friends of patients affected by heart disease can also provide support to their loved ones by learning more about heart disease. By educating ourselves and being aware of the signs and symptoms of heart conditions, we can increase awareness and support one another.
Important signs of heart failure that might prompt a conversation with your family doctor:
Shortness of breath
Being tired or fatigued all of the time
Excessive sweating - even when it’s not hot
Swelling in arms, legs, or abdomen
DizzinessLoss of appetite
Pale or bluish skin - indicating lack of circulation
What you can do at home before going in to your doctor:
Get a pulse oximeter and measure your oxygen levels. (Normal levels will usually be over 95%)
Get a blood pressure machine and measure your blood pressure. (Blood pressure chart below)
If your child is elementary school age or older they might benefit from a wearable tracking device that measures heart rate. (Normal resting heart rate is between 60 - 100 beats per minute)
There are many ways to get involved and show your support during Heart Month. You can volunteer at a local hospital or health center to help those with heart disease, or you can attend a walk or run to raise money for research. We will post a blog later this month highlighting the many heart transplant organizations we have seen make a huge impact in our community. You can also find these organizations located under our Resources section on our website. You can also spread awareness by participating in social media campaigns, sharing stories, or organizing events.
No matter how you choose to get involved, your support can make a difference in the lives of those affected by heart disease. During Heart Month, let's come together to celebrate our heart transplant warriors, help those affected by heart disease and their families, spread awareness, and show our support for a healthier future for those suffering from heart disease.