About 610,000 people die of heart disease External Site in the United States every year — that's 1 in every 4 deaths.
While age, gender and family history influence your chance of developing heart disease, you can reduce your risk with healthy lifestyle choices. It's also important to know what to do if a heart attack strikes. It could save your life.
5 quick questions to boost your heart-health IQ
- During a heart attack, your pulse will feel?
- Faster than normal
- Slower than normal
- Faster or slower, depending on the situation
Answer: C — Heart attacks happen when blood flow to the heart is partially blocked, typically by a blood clot. Where the blockage occurs determines the type of heart attack and the symptoms you will experience.
- Which heart attack symptom is more common among women than men?
- Chest pain
- Jaw pain
- Arm pain
Answer: B — Women are somewhat more likely than men to experience other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Chest pressure doesn’t always accompany heart attacks in women; instead, symptoms can mimic the flu or stress. Men more commonly experience discomfort in their chest or arm.
- Which fat-rich food actually boosts heart health?
- Whole milk
- Ground beef
Answer: A — The avocado contains monounsaturated fats that can cut bad cholesterol and reduce your heart disease risk. Instead of whole milk, reach for skim or fat-free versions, and trade red meat for lean proteins like ground turkey, fish or skinless chicken.
- How much sleep should you get each night to prevent heart problems?
- 5–6 hours
- 6–8 hours
- 9–10 hours
Answer: B — While sleep needs vary from person to person, research shows that six to eight hours a day is ideal for heart health — and for overall health. Studies have linked poor sleep to high blood pressure, obesity, irregular heartbeat, stress and other issues.
- If you experience a common heart attack symptoms, you should?
- Drive yourself to the emergency room.
- Ask someone else to drive you to the emergency room.
- Call 9-1-1 and follow the operator's instructions.
Answer: C — If you suspect you’re having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number immediately. An emergency responder can talk you through the next steps or send paramedics to administer immediate care. And, don’t wait to see if your symptoms improve — prompt treatment can save your life.
Spot a stroke f.a.s.t
- Face drooping. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
- Arm weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech difficulty. Is speech slurred, is he or she unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like: "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
Time to call 9-1-1. If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get him or her to the hospital immediately.
Cut your heart disease risk with these simple steps
- Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke.
- Exercise for 20-30 minutes a day, or 150 minutes a week.
- Eat well, substituting fresh fruits and vegetables for processed snacks and fried foods, whole grains for white bread and rice, extra-virgin olive oil for salad dressing and egg whites for whole eggs.
Need to do a pulse-check on your own heart health? Check out these 4 numbers to know.