Peripheral Artery Disease Roadway to Health

Risk Assessment

Are You at Risk for a Heart Attack or Stroke?

You’ve probably heard a lot about cardiac disease, but you may not know how to assess your own risk factors. 

Risk factors include:

  • Being overweight.
  • Cigarette smoking.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Family history of heart disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Excessive stress.

If any of these risk factors apply to you, you should make an appointment with a cardiac specialist at the West Georgia Heart Clinic at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center. We offer many diagnostic tests that can determine your heart health and the risk of heart attack or stroke.

What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack, medically known as a myocardial infarction or MI, occurs when blood flow is cut off to part of the heart muscle, causing that part of muscle to stop working. 

Signs of a heart attack may include:

  • Prolonged chest pain or pressure.
  • Dizziness.
  • Jaw pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Sweating.
  • Nausea.

If you, or someone you are with, experiences these symptoms, call 911 immediately! The sooner the patient arrives at the hospital, the better the chance for recovery.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen to the brain is blocked. This can happen due to a clot or when a blood vessel breaks, interrupting oxygen flow. In either case, the oxygen-deprived part of the brain begins to die. 

Signs of a stroke may include:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Loss of vision in one or both eyes.
  • Dizziness, difficulty walking or loss of balance.
  • Sudden, severe headache.

 If you, or someone you are with, experiences these symptoms, call 911 immediately. The sooner the patient arrives at the hospital, the better the chances for recovery.

Tips for a Heart Healthy Life

Start taking steps to ensure your heart health today.

  • Reduce Stress – Take 30 minutes each day to listen to relaxing music, enjoy an outdoor stroll or try yoga or meditation. There are many yoga and meditation DVDs available to use at home.
  • Eat Healthy – Add more fruits and vegetables and reduce fatty and “junk” foods.
  • Stop Smoking – Discuss the different options available with your physician. Team up with a smoker friend to stop smoking together and promise yourself a reward for success.
  • Monitor Your Blood Pressure — Have it checked at least annually, more frequently if your physician recommends it.
  • Keep Your Diabetes Under Control — Diabetics are more likely to have cardiac disease. Be vigilant about your diet and medications.
  • Lose Weight – Waist measurements of over 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women lead to a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.

For more ideas about reducing your cardiac disease risk factors, visit the American Heart Association website.

For more information, call the Heart Clinic at (706) 845-3274.