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Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Renton Heart Month

The month of February is dedicated to raising awareness about heart health and increasing knowledge about preventing cardiovascular disease. We are dedicated to doing all we can to improve the heart health of city residents and encourage everyone to educate themselves on the dangers of heart disease and how to have better heart health. Free blood pressure and blood sugar screenings are available at your local Renton fire stations during regular business hours.

Did You Know?

Cardiovascular disease is one of the main causes of death in the United States. It is estimated that it kills more people than all other diseases combined and kills more than 12 million people worldwide each year. The good news is that the chance of developing coronary heart disease can be reduced by taking steps to prevent and control factors that put you at the greatest risk. A good place to start in determining your level of risk is by knowing your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. These important numbers can tell you what actions are necessary to help prevent the onset of chronic health conditions.

Blood Pressure – This is one of the strongest markers for heart disease risk. High blood pressure can strain your heart and speed up the process of coronary heart disease. Treating high blood pressure can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, so it's important you have regular blood pressure checks. Normal blood pressure is 120 / 80 or below.

Cholesterol Levels – Too much bad cholesterol can lead to a hardening of your arteries. This can put you at risk for a heart attack or stroke. When it comes to cholesterol, there are two important numbers you should know: LDL, is the bad cholesterol, and should be below 130 mg/dL, the lower the better; HDL, is good cholesterol, and should be above 40 mg/dL. Your total cholesterol (TC) level should be below 200 mg/dL.

Blood Sugar – A blood sugar test is commonly used to diagnose the presence of diabetes. A fasting blood sugar (taken when you haven’t eaten for 12 hours) should be below 100 mg/dL. Overall, people with diabetes have greater risk for coronary artery (heart) disease, heart attack and stroke.

By managing diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, people with can reduce their risk for developing coronary heart disease.

For more information on risk factors, click here.

To find out if you’re at risk take the American Heart Association’s Heart Attack Risk Assessment.

Know the Warning Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense while many heart attacks start slowly with just a mild pain or slight discomfort. Most times those affected aren't sure what's wrong and often wait too long before seeking help. Signs of a heart attack may include:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. It can feel like an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, which may occur with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

For more information on the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack, click here.

Know How to Save a Life

Knowing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED) can make all the difference in a person’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest. In fact:

  • 80% of Cardiac Arrests happen in the home.
  • Only 6.4% of Cardiac Arrest Victims survive because people witnessing the incident do not know CPR.
  • Over 200,000 people die of Sudden Cardiac Arrest every year.
  • 50,000 of the 200,000 deaths yearly could be prevented.
  • For every minute that an AED is unavailable, the victim has a 10% less chance of survival.
  • Once the heart stops beating, brain death occurs in 4 to 6 minutes. Performing CPR provides oxygen to the brain and other vital organs to give the victim the best chance of full recovery after EMS takes over. If CPR is given within the first four minutes of a cardiac arrest, the chances of survival double.

Statistic provide by the American Red Cross. For more information click here.

Red Cross – Preparing and Getting Trained

American Heart Association CPR and AED training opportunities

Renton Heart Month Video



Click on image to watch video

The Renton Heart Month campaign helps citizens take charge of their heart health by informing them about heart attack risks and how to quickly and properly respond to warning signs.