Reducing your risk of heart disease

February 6, 2013 by Carolyn Pennington in Medicine & Health / Cardiology

February is American Heart Month but living a heart healthy lifestyle is important anytime of the year. That's because cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of Americans – one in three of us will die from heart disease or stroke.

In Connecticut, 33 percent of residents die from while 24 percent die from cancer, according to the latest data from the Department of Public Health.

These conditions are also leading causes of disability and also very expensive—together disease and stroke hospitalizations in 2010 cost the nation more than $444 billion in and lost productivity.

Here are some ways you can reduce your risk of .

When should my loved one go to the emergency room?

Call 911 if he or she has:

Women don't always get the same classic heart attack symptoms as men, such as crushing chest pain that radiates down one arm. Those heart attack symptoms can certainly happen to women, but many experience vague or even "silent" symptoms that they may miss.

These six heart attack symptoms are common in women:

1. Chest pain or discomfort. It may feel like a squeezing or fullness, and the pain can be anywhere in the chest, not just on the left side. It feels like a vise being tightened.

2. Pain in your arm(s), back, neck, or jaw. This type of pain is more common in women than in men. It may confuse women who expect their pain to be focused on their chest and left arm. The pain can be gradual or sudden, and it may wax and wane before becoming intense.

3. Stomach pain. Sometimes people mistake stomach pain that signals a heart attack with heartburn, the flu, or a stomach ulcer. Other times, women experience severe abdominal pressure that feels like an elephant sitting on your stomach.

4. Shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness. If you're having trouble breathing for no apparent reason, you could be having a heart attack, especially if you're also having one or more other symptoms.

5. Sweating. Breaking out in a nervous, cold sweat is common among women who are having a . It will feel more like stress-related sweating than perspiration from exercising or spending time outside in the heat.

6. Fatigue. Some women who have heart attacks feel extremely tired, even if they've been sitting still for a while or haven't moved much.

Provided by University of Connecticut

"Reducing your risk of heart disease" February 6, 2013