Cardiovascular disease affects your heart and blood vessels and can cause a range of symptoms from chest pain and shortness of breathe to dizziness and fatigue. Almost half of all adults in the U.S. have at least one form of heart disease. Certain lifestyle changes can be implemented to manage cardiovascular conditions.
As experts in cardiovascular care, our physicians at St. Joseph Health work with a specially trained medical team using the most advanced technology for diagnosis and treatment. We offer leading-edge therapies and compassionate care to treat the heart conditions below.
If you are having a heart attack, which happens when parts of the heart do not receive enough blood flow, you may notice some of the following symptoms:
Chest pain. Pain in the center or left side of the chest is one of the most common signs of a heart attack. You may feel a tightness, fullness, or squeezing sensation that can last for several minutes.
Discomfort in the upper body. This can include pain in the arms, shoulders, neck, jaw, back, and stomach.
Shortness of breath. While this symptom usually accompanies chest pain, it can occur before the discomfort starts.
Lightheadedness. In combination with other symptoms, feeling as though you are about to pass out is a common indicator of a heart attack.
Heart palpitations. You may begin to feel irregular or skipping heartbeats.
Palpitations are sensations you feel when your heart rate speeds up, or when you can feel it thumping in your chest. They are common, and causes include exercise, stress, and caffeine. Arrhythmias are disruptions in regular heart rhythm and can have more serious symptoms, such as chest pain, light-headedness, and shortness of breath. If you believe you are experiencing arrhythmias, schedule an appointment with a St. Luke’s Health cardiologist.
The typical range of a resting heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute. However, a lower heart rate indicates more efficient heart function and better health overall. A simple way to measure your heart rate is by placing your index and middle fingers on either your neck or heart where you can feel your pulse, count how many beats you feel in 15 seconds, and multiply that number by four.
There are several lifestyle changes you can make to lower your heart rate.
Increase exercise. More activity can strengthen your heart and bring down your heart rate.
Limit or avoid stimulants. Caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants drive up your heart rate, and limiting or eliminating your intake of them can help you achieve a lower resting heart rate.
Manage stress and get rest. Stress and a lack of sleep are common contributors to higher heart rates. Finding ways to stay calm and get plenty of sleep can bring your heartbeat to a healthy pace.
Caring for your heart health is the best and easiest way to prevent heart disease. Eating a heart-healthy diet, staying active, getting plenty of sleep, and avoiding stress can keep your heart strong.
Looking for a doctor? Perform a quick search by name or browse by specialty.
To learn more about cardiovascular disease management or treatment options, reach out to our Nurse Navigator.