West Virginia Assistive Technology System

Heart Health

Did You Know?

a boy and his grandmother walking in the park

Your heart works hard for your body day and night. It beats over 4 million times a year. You have about 60,000 miles of blood vessels. If placed end to end, your vessels would stretch 2 ½ times around the earth. If the arteries in your heart get small or clogged, your heart muscle cannot get enough blood and oxygen.
What can you do to help your heart work its best?

Tips for Protecting Your Heart

  • Stay Active - Don't think 'exercise' - think about moving more. Standing is better than sitting; walking is better than standing. Be active at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week, even if you do it 10 minutes at a time.
  • Eat right - Healthy food habits help control cholesterol, blood pressure and your weight. Eat regular meals and small portions. Choose fresh foods in a variety of colors - especially green, yellow, red and orange.
  • Get check ups - See your health care provider regularly. Talk to your provider about your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar and weight.
  • Keep in touch - Socialize with your family, friends and neighbors. Phone calls, visits, talks, walks and e-mails give you a healthy support system, especially when you need help.
  • Kick Butt - If you use tobacco, you have a higher risk of illness and death from heart attack, stroke and other diseases. Being around other people who smoke increases your risk, too. The good news is that when you stop smoking-no matter how long or how much you've smoked-your risk of heart disease and stroke starts to drop.

Know the Warning Signs

senior citizens doing aerobics

  • Every minute counts during a heart attack. Know the warning signs and act quickly. Call 911 right away if you have any of these symptoms:
    • Chest discomfort or pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest that lasts longer than a few minutes, or comes and goes
    • Spreading pain to one or both arms, back, jaw or stomach
    • Cold sweats and nausea
  • Women may notice other signs in addition to or instead of chest pain. Be aware that heart attack warning signs for women also include:
    • Shortness of Breath
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Back pain
    • Jaw Pain
  • Call 9-1-1 - If you or someone has warning signs, never wait to call for help. Emergency medical service (EMS) staff can begin treatment when they arrive. If you can't get to emergency medical services (EMS), have someone drive you to the hospital right away. Don't drive yourself unless you have no choice.

Find Out More:

Visit the American Heart Association at www.americanheart.org or call 800-242-8721 to find out about activities in your area.

Find health and physical activity information and resources in your community by visiting www.healthywv.com or by calling 304-925-0342.