Heart attack: Assess your risk

The leading cause of death in the world, lifestyle changes can help lower your risk for a heart attack.

Every year, more than 3 million people in the United States suffer a heart attack.

While the symptoms of a heart attack can differ from person to person (and even from men to women), the next steps should always be the same: call 911 and go to the nearest ER.

Symptoms can range from arm pain and heavy chest pressure in some to nausea and heartburn for others.

“The most important thing that we preach is,” said Dr. Timothy Logan, an interventional cardiologist with the McLaren Cardiovascular Institute, “is if you’re not feeling good and you’re not sure, then call for help.

“If you’re having symptoms where you think you might be having a heart attack, you should call 911.”

Heart attacks, along with heart disease, are the leading cause of death in the entire world, and they are also a leading cause of adult disability.

The goal, then, should be making changes now to address and lower the risks for a heart attack occurring.

“High blood pressure, high cholesterol, we can treat with medication,” Dr. Logan said. “Stopping smoking — it’s still one of the big problems out there that still exist.”

He adds that controlling diabetes, exercising and a proper diet can also help address risk factors.

“There are things we can do to prevent this from happening,” he said.

Know your risk so you can act to better your health.

The American College of Cardiology has provided a heart attack risk estimator — the first step in taking action to lowering your risk.