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[ISDH]Love Your Heart This Valentine's Day
Start Date: 2/14/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 2/14/2014
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS—Hearts abound in February, but they have to do with more than just sweethearts and Valentine’s Day. February is American Heart Month, a time to focus on ways to be heart healthy by learning about important screenings and disease prevention.


The term "heart disease" refers to several types of heart conditions, and is the leading cause of death in Indiana and the nation. The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease, which can cause heart attack, angina, heart failure, and arrhythmias. Coronary artery disease occurs when a substance called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. When this happens, your arteries can narrow over time.


Heart disease is called the ‘silent killer’ for a reason,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess II, M.D. “You might feel healthy, but you must get regular check-ups involving cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, to know for sure. This is important for both men and women.”


High blood pressure and high cholesterol are two primary causes of heart attacks. Nearly 33 percent of all adult Hoosiers have high blood pressure and almost 40 percent have high cholesterol. All regular cardiovascular screening tests should begin at age 20. The frequency of follow up will depend on your level of risk.


Other risk factors for heart disease include having diabetes and smoking. Those with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have a heart attack. Smokers are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease. Quitting smoking can help. Within 24 hours after stopping smoking, the chance of a heart attack decreases.


For some people, the first sign of heart disease is a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked by a blood clot. If this clot cuts off the blood flow completely, the part of the heart muscle supplied by that artery begins to die. It’s important to be aware of the signs of a heart attack because seeking medical attention quickly can potentially mean the difference between life and death.


Common sign of a heart attack include:

·         pain or discomfort in the center of the chest

·         pain in one or both arms, back, neck or jaw

·         shortness of breath

·         nausea and vomiting

·         feeling faint or experiencing a cold sweat


Some women may experience less common signs of a heart attack, including: heartburn, loss of appetite, lethargy, coughing and heart flutters.


Having a healthy lifestyle can greatly reduce risk of heart disease.


“We continually stress this—maintaining a healthy weight, being active, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding tobacco are the keys to preventing any number of diseases, including coronary artery disease,” said Dr. VanNess. “If you need to make changes, start small and then work your way up.”


The American Heart Association offers an assessment and action plan tool called My Life Check™ to help you find out where you are on your road to a healthy heart. Visit to learn more.


Hoosiers who want help quitting smoking are encouraged to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to talk to a trained quit coach for free. To learn more about quitting smoking, visit or For healthy lifestyle tips, visit INShape Indiana at


Follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at for important health updates.  Visit the Indiana State Department of Health at








Contact Information:
Name: Ken Severson
Phone: 317.233.7104
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Family & Health
  • Agency Name
    Health, Indiana State Department of

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