Last updated: July 25. 2013 11:18AM - 166 Views
Brenda Gibson

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Do you know if you are at risk for heart disease? Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Director of Emergency Services, Mary Kate Dilts-Skaggs, shared risk factors with Kiwanis members Feb 6.

“There are both controllable and uncontrollable factors that can effect your risks for heart disease. The most important thing you can do, is be aware of these factors and manage them,” said Dilts-Skaggs.

According to Dilts-Skaggs and the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States for both men and women.

“The bottom line is awareness. You need to monitor your risk factors and continually gain education on heart disease, signs and symptoms and ways in which you can lower your risk,” she said.

Dilts-Skaggs said the most important things to do are to manage your weight, exercise and stop using tobacco products.

“And you should never wait if you think you might be having a heart attack. Women are the worst at denying that they are having a heart attack. We (women) are great at taking care of everyone else, but we are terrible at taking care of ourselves,” she said.

Signs of a heart attack include: chest discomfort; pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back of the neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath and could include nausea or lightheadedness.

“You should never wait more than five minutes if you have any signs or symptoms of a heart attack. Don’t take that risk. We’d rather send you home with indigestion than to not be able to catch it if is a heart attack,” she said.

SOMC will host two events to learn more about your heart. Heart-to-Heart Tea will be held on Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. at the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center and Relax With Heart will be held Feb. 19 from 2 to 6:30 p.m. at the Friends Community Center.

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