Take Care of Your Health and Your Health will Take Care of You

By Michelle ThumFebruary 15, 2023

LANDSTUHL, Germany- According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and the most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which can lead to heart attack.

“Did you know that one-in-five Americans dies of heart disease?” said Lt. Col. Simeon Smith, a public health nursing consultant at Public Health Command Europe. “However, you can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease through lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication.”

Public Health Command Europe is promoting heart health throughout the entire month of February by offering educational briefs and exercise sessions to their staff in an effort to mitigate the risk of heart disease in the future.

According to the CDC, although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a man’s disease, almost as many women as men die each year from heart disease.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States,” said Maj. Jacqueline Kircher, a cardiologist at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. “Women often present differently with atypical symptoms, which can delay recognition by both patients and providers, with sometimes deadly consequences. Prevention is the most important tool to combat heart disease.”

According to medical officials, men commonly complain about a discomfort or tingling in arms, back, neck, shoulder, or jaw.

Women, however, tend to exhibit additional symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, unusual tiredness, cold sweat, sudden dizziness and heartburn-like feeling.

To prevent or lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, medical officials offer some simple tips:

  • Be physically active every day; follow your doctor’s advice about the type of physical activity that is best for you
  • Eat less salt, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol
  • Eat more fiber, choose more fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans
  • Stay at a healthy weight
  • If you smoke, quit
  • Take medication as prescribed and ask your doctor about taking aspirin (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

“If you do the right thing by taking care of your heat, your heart will take care of you,” added Smith.

Additionally, Public Health Command Europe officials encourage everyone to:

  • Have regular physical exams and screenings to determine your risk for heart disease and other conditions
  • Know your numbers – cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Ask questions if you are unsure about your condition or currently take medications
  • Know your family history to determine if you are at increased risk for heart disease
  • Take active steps to reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes

Contact your primary care provider if you have questions or concerns.

Individuals are encouraged to join the cause by wearing red throughout the month of February as a reminder and wake-up call about the risk of heart disease.