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Heart Month Tip #25: Listen to your body

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February 25, 2015

From Paige Deitzel, Cardiac Nurse and Valve Center Clinic Coordinator

Heart disease symptoms aren't always intense or obvious, and they can be different for men and women and from person to person. That’s why many people wait to see if the symptoms go away, blaming them on other causes such as heartburn or muscle soreness.

But it’s vital that you listen to your body and pay attention to the early warning signs of heart disease, especially if you’re over age 65 or have risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, diabetes, or a family history of heart disease. The earlier you get medical help, the greater your risk for a successful recovery.

Talk to your doctor right away if you experience:

  • Anxiety or a sense of impending doom
  • Chest pain or discomfort, such as burning or pressure
  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, lack of appetite
  • Pain in the shoulders, arms, back, neck, jaw, or abdomen
  • Rapid or irregular pulse
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, or abdomen
  • Weakness

About the Valve Center Clinic

As the coordinator of St. Luke’s Valve Center Clinic, Paige works with patients who have problems with the aortic or mitral valves of the heart. Of the 350-400 cardiac surgical procedures performed at St. Luke’s each year, about half involve repair or replacement of a heart valve.

Some patients may be candidates for a less invasive procedure that requires a smaller incision, less time in the hospital, and shorter recovery time. This includes the latest in valve replacement technology— transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). St. Luke’s is the leader in Idaho with the most experienced team and 62 successful TAVR procedures. The program is also a nation-wide leader in reduced length of stay at an average of 3.7 days, well under the national average of six days.

The Valve Center Clinic continues to add advanced procedures and products that allow us to treat an even broader patient population, including those would be otherwise too sick or frail for surgery. Regardless of the type of procedure required, our goal is to restore normal function to the heart, allowing patients to return to the activities they enjoy.

Join us for a free Heart Month seminar:

Genetics and Coronary Artery Disease
Presented by Dr. Daniel Brown, Cardiologist
Thursday, February 26, 6 p.m.
St. Luke’s Magic Valley

Registration is recommended.