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Heart Attack and Stroke: Know the Signs, Save a Life

The statistics are alarming. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular diseases are responsible for one in three women’s deaths each year. 1 in 3. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiovascular disease is preventable with simple lifestyle changes—so don’t be a statistic! This topic is so important that we chose Kate Sawa, executive director of the American Heart Association of Tampa Bay, to be our February guest editor.

Read: A Note from the Heart from Guest Editor Kate Sawa

“Women need to be an advocate for their own health,” said Sawa. “It is important to eat a healthy diet, exercise and not smoke. It’s also important for women to know their numbers and to make sure that they are in a healthy range. The numbers include your blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, BMI and weight.”

Education is the best chance at survival, so e your own advocate, be the champion for other women in your life and encourage them to be heart healthy. Our lives depend on it.

Did you know cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke kill nearly 1 in 3 women each year?  The good news is 80% of cardiovascular diseases may be preventable through education and lifestyle behaviors.


5 Simple Changes You Can Make Today for a Healthier Heart:

  1. Know your numbers! Make an appointment for an annual physical to discuss your health with your doctor today.
  2. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, five times a week. You can even divide up exercise time into 10-15 minute increments to better fit a busy schedule!
  3. Try to avoid stress. Try meditation, yoga and/or exercise.
  4. Watch the salt! Aim to limit your daily sodium intake to 1,500 mg or less.
  5. Aim for 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables. Can’t curb the cravings for high calorie treats? Eat a very small portion to prevent the temptation to give in and overindulge.


Signs of a Heart Attack:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. Women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particular shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

-Source: American Heart Association


Signs of a Stroke: F.A.S.T. How to Spot a Stroke: A Few Seconds Could Save a Life, Possibly Your Own

Know the signs. Every minute a stroke is left untreated, nearly 2 million brain cells die. A quick response to stroke not only minimizes the chance of disability, but helps preserve quality of life.

F: Face drooping

A: Arm weakness

S: Speech difficulty

T: Time to call 911 and get to a hospital immediately.

Source: American Heart Association

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Laura Byrne
Laura Byrne is an award-winning former television news journalist who spent 15+ years in newsrooms across the state of Florida including Sarasota, Tallahassee, Fort Myers and right here in Tampa Bay where she still freelances on occasion. She covered the political beat, crime beat and every day breaking news during her time in Florida newsrooms, but is now focused on sharing positive news stories and events with families in Tampa Bay. She is a proud mommy of two little boys who keep her on her toes and laughing every day. Her goal is to inspire families just like yours to get out and play and experience all that Tampa Bay and our great state of Florida have to offer! She encourages you to share your stories and upcoming events so we can spread the good news.

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