Listen to Your Heart

Some medical needs are easy to spot. If you gash your hand or start sneezing, it’s time to go to the doctor. Preventive care is important because it addresses long-term medical issues you might not know you have.

One example is coronary artery disease—the leading cause of death in the United States. Over time, cholesterol builds up in your arteries and decreases the blood flow to your heart. With a heart-conscious diet and exercise, symptoms can improve. Leaving your heart alone, however, leads to a higher risk of stroke and heart attack.

The most common signs of coronary artery disease are:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Light-headedness

Positive lifestyle changes decrease your risk of coronary artery disease. To limit your risk, choose foods low in fat, sodium and cholesterol, and eat plenty of vegetables. Cardio-intensive exercise, such as running or jogging, should be on your schedule at least three times per week. And, as always, quit smoking.

As a Local 94 member, Empire BlueCross BlueShield’s Complex Care program can help you come up with a plan to fight coronary artery disease if you already have it. You’ll be assigned a registered nurse to discuss with you your symptoms, insurance, prescriptions and treatment options. Give Complex Care a call at (800) 553-9603. 

Sometimes, care can’t wait. If you experience chest pain for more than five minutes, seek emergency care IMMEDIATELY and call 9-1-1. The symptoms could be signs of a heart attack.

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