Heart health is important for people of all ages. At the Medical Center of Aurora, we are dedicated to helping people educate themselves about heart health, learn how the heart works and what patients can do to better manage their health.

Heart Disease Prevention

People of all ages should take steps now to prevent or reduce their risk of heart disease. Here are some ways to prevent heart disease:

  • Eat a healthy diet — The food you eat can have a big impact on decreasing your risk of heart attack or stroke. A healthy diet includes eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains and foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.
  • Be physically active — Physical activity (including aerobics and strength-training) is crucial for the heart muscle. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise to improve cardiovascular health.
  • Monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure — High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes could put you at an increased risk of heart disease. There are steps you can take now (like eating a healthy diet and exercising) to lower your risk if your blood pressure or cholesterol is higher than normal.
  • Know your family history — Talk to your doctor if you have a family history of cardiovascular disease.

For more information on preventing heart disease, visit the American Heart Association’s website or speak to your primary physician about keeping your heart healthy long term.

Signs of Heart Attack and Stroke

Knowing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack or a stroke can save someone’s life — or your own. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year roughly 750,000 Americans have a heart attack. Stroke accounts for one out of every 20 deaths in the U.S. Every year, nearly 800,000 people in America have a stroke.

The risk factors for a heart attack or stroke are:

  • Family history
  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Fat intake
  • Previous heart attack or stroke

Most people recognize chest pain as a sign of a heart attack, but are unaware of the other main signs of a heart attack.

Signs of a heart attack include:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Pain/discomfort in the upper body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea

The signs of heart attack in women can be different than signs of heart attack in men. Women having a heart attack may be more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, unusual tiredness/fatigue and pain in the back, shoulders or jaw.

Symptoms of a stroke can appear suddenly, and include:

  • Numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body)
  • Confusion
  • Trouble seeing, walking or dizziness
  • Unexplained severe headache

Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know is experiencing signs of a heart attack or stroke.

Cardiac Rehab Program at the Medical Center of Aurora

The Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at the Medical Center of Aurora and Centennial Medical Plaza provides patients with a comprehensive approach to treating and managing heart conditions. For patients who have undergone heart surgery, increasing one’s strength and stamina is a crucial step in the recovery process.

The Cardiac Rehabilitation Program can significantly help patients who have had a balloon angioplasty or coronary stenting, coronary artery bypass surgery, a heart attack or heart valve surgery. Cardiac rehabilitation can help patients manage their heart health, return to their normal activities, exercise safely, recover faster and learn about stress management.

The Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at the Medical Center of Aurora occurs in three phases: Phase I (when patients who are in the hospital recovering from heart surgery), Phase II (a cardiac rehab nurse evaluates patients), and Phase III (medical staff help patients continue exercise regimen and risk-management activities).

A Leader in the Treatment and Care of Heart Disease

The Medical Center of Aurora is committed to providing patients with all of the information and resources they need to make educated decisions about their health. In addition to offering treatment for heart conditions and heart-related health issues, we seek to help patients reduce their risk of heart disease before it starts.