Heart Disease and Stroke
Keeping your heart healthy is one of the most important things you can do to improve the length and quality of your life.
Heart disease is the #1 killer in the United States. More than 500,000 people DIE every year from heart disease. Heart disease includes diseases of the blood vessels (coronary artery disease), heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias), heart infections, and heart defects you're born with (congenital heart defects). By making healthy lifestyle choices, you can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke.
Hurley Medical Center’s Cardiology Department: expert care for your heart
Handling nearly one-third of all cardiac cases in Genesee County, Hurley Medical Center’s Cardiology Department comprises a team of highly trained heart doctors, nurses and technologists who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of heart conditions, including heart attack, stroke and cardiac arrest.
Life’s Simple 7™–7 steps to a healthier heart
No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to start on the road to a healthier heart. Begin today by taking these 7 simple steps:
- Stop Smoking. Smoking greatly increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. At Hurley, we can help you stop smoking. Click here.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you have too much body fat, especially at the waist, you’re at higher risk for heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
- Get active. To have a healthy heart, regular physical activity is important. This can include walking, jogging, basketball, handball, football, soccer...almost any kind of exercise.
- Eat better. A heart-healthy diet including fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Try to cut out (or at least limit) soda, fried foods, starch, fast food and fatty meats, and choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
- Control your cholesterol. Read food labels to make sure you’re buying foods low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol. You can lower your cholesterol by changing your diet, exercising, losing weight and/or taking medications.
- Manage your blood pressure. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder and puts more strain on your arteries, so it’s important to get it checked regularly. You can lower your blood pressure by changing your diet, exercising, losing weight, limiting your sodium (salt) intake and/or taking medications.
- Control your blood sugar. Diabetes seriously increases your risk of heart disease. To help you manage diabetes or pre-diabetes, Hurley offers several highly-respected Diabetes Education Programs.
Heart attack warning signs
- Chest discomfort. Pressure, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest, like someone is sitting on your chest.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Pain in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. This may occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs. Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or dizziness.
If you or someone you’re with has any of these symptoms, call 911 IMMEDIATELY.
- Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Michigan
- Genesee County has one of the highest rates of hospitalization for stroke in Michigan
- The brain ages almost 4 years for each hour that a stroke is not treated
• Uneven smile
• Facial droop/numbness
• Vision disturbance
• Difficulty walking
• Inappropriate words
• Unable to talk
A TIA (mini-stroke) is often a warning that a major stroke is coming
A TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) is a warning stroke, sometimes called a “mini-stroke.” A TIA can occur days, weeks or months before a major stroke. The warning signs of TIAs and strokes are essentially the same, but because TIAs may happen before a stroke, these symptoms should be considered an emergency. Call 911 as soon as TIA or stroke symptoms start.
African Americans and Stroke
Stroke is a major health concern for everyone but stroke affects African Americans more than any other group. Nationally, African Americans suffer from first-ever strokes at twice the rate of non-Hispanic whites.
Stroke risk factors you can’t control
- Race: As an African American, your risk of stroke is 4 times higher than for non-Hispanic whites
- Family history: If a parent, grandparent, brother or sister has had a stroke, your risk is greater
- Your medical history: If you’ve already had a stroke or heart attack, you’re at a higher risk for having another stroke
- Age: the older you are, the greater your risk
Stroke risk factors you can control
- High blood pressure
- Carotid or other artery disease
- Atrial fibrillation (abnormal heartbeat)
- Certain blood disorders
- High blood cholesterol
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol use
- Illegal drug use
American Heart Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Stroke Connection magazine (888-478-7653)
AHA’s Power To End Stroke (PTES) (888-478-7653)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Stroke Group Registry (888-478-7653)