February is Heart Month

As Valentines Day was celebrated last week, we thought it would be good to take time to  reflect on the importance of loving your own heart. Many chronic diseases can increase the risk of heart attacks, including: diabetes, high blood pressure and many types of inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.  Women are at increased risk of heart disease after menopause as estrogen plays a heart protective role.  The most valuable thing anyone can do to reduce heart disease is quit smoking.

No medication can replace the value of eating well and regular exercise (at least 150 minutes/week).  Knowing the signs of a heart attack (chest pain/pressure, sweating, nausea, upper body pain (jaw, arm, back), light headedness and shortness of breath) is very important as treatment is the most effective when acting quickly.  Remember that women don’t always experience chest pressure with a heart attack.  The first step is to call 911, stop all activity and sit or lie down, use nitroglycerin if available to you, chew two 81mg ASA (Aspirin), rest, and wait for help to arrive and keep a list of your current medications available for emergency responders.

Click here for more information on heart and stroke prevention.

Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health.  Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.

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