• Talk to your doctor. Get regular medical checkups and heart disease screening tests for high blood pressure, blood sugars, and high cholesterol. Have an electrocardiogram. Talk to your doctor about your health history and your family history of heart disease.
What are the signs and symptoms of a heart attack?
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense – the “movie heart attack” – and no one doubts what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected are not sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are warning signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
• Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like 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. This may occur before, with or without chest discomfort.
• Other signs. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, or experiencing nausea or lightheadedness.
Learn the signs. Even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out. Minutes matter. Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Do not wait more than five minutes to call 911.
For More Information:
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Heart Disease, Arthritis Foundation.
Tackling ischaemic heart disease in rheumatoid arthritis. Kitas GD, Erb N. Rheumatology. 2003; 42: 607-613.