ST. LOUIS — Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association.
Roughly 610,000 people die every year from cardiovascular problems.
Doctors, like Cardiologist Dr. Marc Sintek with Barnes-Jewish Hospital, want to lower those numbers by educating patients about the risks.
February is American Heart Month. It’s a chance to raise awareness about the issues.
Dr. Sintek said being overweight, having a poor diet and high blood pressure can cause heart disease. Smokers and patients with poor cholesterol are also at risk. He said exercise is key.
“You need to be doing some sort of activity 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. That doesn’t have to be all at once. That could be 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes at night,” said Sintek. “I even tell people to park at the end of the parking lot and taking a longer walk into the store.”
Ryan Deters, fitness specialist at Move by BJC said there are simple exercises at home people can do to help keep their heart healthy.
He said doing rows with resistance bands is a great way to get your heart rate up. He also suggests doing squats by a chair or park bench. That helps control how low the patient is going.
Deters said to not let your knee caps move inward. He suggests 12-15 repetitions for both workouts.
Then simply walking is a great way to keep your heart healthy.
Deters said Fit-bits and Apple Watches can help you keep track of your heart rate. Otherwise you can monitor it yourself.
“You’re going to count the number of pulses within a certain amount of seconds. We’ll count it to 15 seconds after that number that you have multiply it by four,” said Deters.
Dr. Sintek said knowing the symptoms of a heart attack can save your life or someone else’s.
Men will feel a strangling sensation around their chest, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Symptoms are harder to detect said Dr. Sintek. He said women will feel off, shortness of breath, tired and sweaty.