You would know if you were having a heart attack... right?
According to a poll in CDC Heart Disease Facts, only 27% were aware of all major symptoms and knew to call 9-1-1 when someone was having a heart attack.
Could you tell if someone you love were having a stroke?
Your body depends on your heart, vessels, and blood (the cardiovascular system) to transport nutrients and oxygen.
Per CDC Million Hearts, cardiovascular disease causes 1 in 3 US deaths, one-fifth of them in people under the age of 65. Each year, Americans suffer 1,500,000 heart attacks and strokes, making them two of the most widespread US health problems.
Worksite wellness programs prioritize knowing the signs of and emergency response for heart attack and stroke. As a freelancer, entrepreneur, and remote worker, you need this support too!
I'm going to teach you how to recognize and prevent heart attacks and strokes, so you feel great and work better.
heart attack and stroke education are key to both Worksite and freelance wellness
Sometimes, things don't work right:
Over time, arteries may narrow from cholesterol buildup. Other health problems, like diabetes or high blood pressure, damage the blood vessels and make them more likely to break.
If a blood clot blocks a narrowed vessel, or if a vessel breaks, tissues with low blood supply start to die. In the heart, this is called a heart attack. In the brain, it's called a stroke.
You don't want any of these (they're life-threatening emergencies). If any of the warning signs are present, call 9-1-1 immediately:
Symptoms of heart attack aren't always severe, which means you might not feel "like an elephant is sitting on your chest." AHA Heart Attack Symptoms in Women
Time is essential during heart attack or stroke. Rapid treatment greatly increases the victim's chance of survival, and reduces disability and rehabilitation time.
If you suspect someone's having a stroke, act FAST:
Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech: Ask the person to repeat a short phrase. Is their speech slurred or jumbled?
Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately and note the time.
How to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke
Unhealthy cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure contribute to your risk of heart attack and stroke. Here are choices you can make to decrease your risk:
- Schedule your health care appointments. "I feel good, so I don't need to go to the doctor, right?" WRONG. I was guilty of this one. It may be a bit of a hassle to set an appointment, but we're talking big consequences for silent killers.
- No, really, schedule your physical- You can't feel blood vessel damage or clogging until it's an emergency. By then, it may be too late!
- Don't smoke- Smoking doubles the risk of stroke when compared to a nonsmoker (National Stroke Association). To be clear, nicotine delivery systems like vapes and Juul are as damaging and addictive as cigarettes.
- Maintain a healthy weight- Excess weight strains your circulatory system. Read my blog for lifestyle tips to improve how you work and keep those sneaky pounds off. Fix up your nutrition: increase fruit and vegetable intake, eat more whole grains, decrease sodium intake, etc.
- Increase your physical activity- Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain your heart and blood vessel health. It also helps your business productivity, which means you enjoy the reasons you work! Read 3 Tips to Start Exercising if You Hate Exercise.
- Drink less than 3 alcoholic drinks per day- It's not a vitamin; it damages your blood vessels.
It's important to know what having a heart attack or stroke looks like so you can respond quickly. The life you save may be your own! For an informative video, visit TED-Ed's What Happens During A Heart Attack? In the meantime, do your best to reduce your risk.