February is American Heart Month: Tips and resources for a healthy heart

February is American Heart Month—the perfect time to learn life-saving information

February is American Heart Month—the perfect time to learn information that could save your life and the lives of family members, friends or coworkers. Below are tips and resources to help get you started.

Know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack

Even the thought of a heart attack can be scary. But take just one minute to be prepared by reviewing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack with Warning Signs of Heart Attack, Stroke & Cardiac Arrest from the American Heart Association.

If these signs are present, call 911:

Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure,squeezing, fullness or pain.

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.

How the signs and symptoms of heart disease differ for women

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year.

But the truth is some women don’t realize they are having a heart attack because the signs and symptoms may be different from chest pain or discomfort. Here is what you should know about possible heart attack symptoms for women from the American Heart Association.

Try these lifestyle swaps for a healthy heart

Exercising, eating a heart-healthy diet, checking your blood pressure and cholesterol, and managing stress are key for a stronger heart. The following tips can help and can also be found in a flyer from Health Advocate and California Schools JPA.

Stay active as much as you can! Try to get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. Don’t sit for long periods of time or spend too much time being sedentary.

Focus on nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein. Don’t eat too many high-calorie foods (those with more than 400 calories per serving).

Manage stress in healthy ways such as reading, meditating and enjoying hobbies. Don’t use tobacco, alcohol or overeating food to cope with stress.

Flavor foods and beverages with healthy seasonings, spices and citrus fruits. Don’t overdo it with salt and sugar—in excess, both can hurt your heart and overall health.

Cook your foods in healthy ways such as roasting, grilling, steaming and broiling. Don’teat too many fried foods—they can increase your risk of heart disease.

Find more information with CSEBA partners

Health Advocate blog

9 ways to protect your heart starting now

Be heart healthy. Exercise!

Keep stress in check for a healthier heart

How to get—and stay—heart healthy

Kaiser Permanente

Your guide to heart health

Blue Shield of California

Relax your way to a healthy heart

High blood pressure—get the facts