It Can Hurt, It Can Race, It Can Swell, but Most Importantly It Gives Life and It Loves

posted by Mindy Sylvester on Friday, February 2, 2018

Our hearts are life-giving. With each beat, our heart functions to send life-sustaining blood through our vessels to every cell in our body. On average it beats 100,000 times per day and it increases and decreases the rate of its beating according to our activities and our emotions. Pause for a moment and feel your heart beating. Notice the rhythm (regular or irregular), the rate (fast or slow), and the intensity (faint or strong) of each heartbeat. Then pause for 40 seconds and reflect on your heart’s life-giving worth.  40 seconds….  In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds.  And each minute, more than one person in the U.S. dies of a heart disease-related event. So with February Heart Health awareness, we at Spencer Hospital encourage you to take a few minutes to give attention to your life-giving heart and vessels.

Know Your Risk Factors

Several key risk factors that can jeopardize the health of your heart and vessels are:

  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • High LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Smoking

 About half of Americans (49%) have at least one of these three risk factors!

Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices that can increase your chances for heart disease include:

  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Poor diet/nutrition
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Stress

Know the Warning Signs

Heart Attack

  • Chest discomfort (pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in center of the chest)
  • Pain (felt in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach)
  • Shortness of breath (often occurs with or before chest discomfort)
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Light-headedness
  • Sudden severe and unusual headache


  • Weakness (sudden loss of strength in the face, arm, or leg – even if it’s temporary)
  • Trouble speaking (sudden difficulty speaking or understanding or sudden confusion, even if temporary)
  • Vision problems (sudden trouble with vision, even if temporary)
  • Headache (sudden severe and unusual headache)
  • Dizziness (sudden loss of balance, especially with any of the above signs)

*IF you experience or witness someone with any of these symptoms, CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY.

You may be wondering, "Can I prevent heart disease?" Here are some simple daily choices you can make to prevent or delay heart disease.

  • Don’t smoke
  • Exercise 30-45 minutes daily
  • Manage stress
  • Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Drink water
  • Minimize alcohol intake (no more than one drink/day for women, and two drinks/day for men)
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Waist circumference <35 inches for women and < 40 inches for men
  • Monitor blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides and keep in normal range (you may need to take medication to do so)

Want more information or interested to know your heart disease risk? Call us to schedule one of our heart health/wellness screenings at the Spencer Hospital.

Planet Heart/Vascular Screening to evaluate if you have plaque build-up in your vessels which could put you at a higher risk of future heart attack. We offer these at the Spencer hospital on Tuesdays and Thursdays for $50 each test

Our Comprehensive Wellness Screening includes some quick measurements and then a blood draw for the lab to evaluate some of the key components of heart disease such as cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, waist circumference and weight. Offered the third Wednesday of each month (and every Wednesday morning in February) for the low cost of $50

This February, we at Spencer Hospital encourage you to take a few minutes to consider your risk factors, life-style choices and the health of your life-giving, loving heart.

  1. wellness

About The Author

Mindy Sylvester

Mindy Sylvester is our Women’s Health Coordinator at the Spencer Hospital.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology and Psychology from Buena Vista College and Nursing from ILCC and University of Iowa.  Mindy has been an RN for 20 years, working with women’s healt ... read more