How to Recognize a Heart Attack and Lower Your Risk for Having One

During February’s Heart Month observance, Mercy Health - Cincinnati, which provides advanced, compassionate, quality care in your neighborhood through its care network, encourages you to know your risks for heart disease.


Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is the number one killer of both men and women. Learning the symptoms and risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease is the first step to prevention and seeking treatment.


According to cardiologist David Babbitt, MD, Medical Director of Mercy Health – The Heart Institute, symptoms such as uncomfortable pressure or pain in the center of the chest tend to be the most common, there are others that are not as common, but equally as dangerous.


Nausea, dizziness, stomach or abdominal pain, shortness of breath, sweating, weakness or fatigue may all be indicators of a heart attack. Women and diabetics may be more likely to experience symptoms outside of the classic chest pain. It important to be in-tune with your body and realize what your risk factors are.  


Be aware of all heart attack symptoms, especially if you have the following risk factors: tobacco use, high blood pressure or cholesterol, lack of physical activity, obesity or being overweight or if you have a family history of heart disease.

“There are simple steps that you can take to lower that risk of a heart attack or stroke,” Dr. Babbitt said. “As a cardiologist, I always tell my patients to take responsibility for their health and learn more about those risk factors and what they can do to lower them. I encourage them to ask questions and take an active role in their healthcare.”


Even the smallest changes in your diet and exercise habits can reduce your risk for heart disease.  Start by focusing on the risk factors that you can treat and control, such as high cholesterol, alcohol intake and tobacco use. 


If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, or if you think may be at risk for heart disease, please contact your physician today.


Mercy Health - Cincinnati makes advanced, compassionate, quality healthcare easy to help you be well in mind, body and spirit. Mercy Health – Cincinnati has been serving Greater Cincinnati for more than 160 years and provides an integrated network of leading physicians, compassionate caregivers, comprehensive services and exceptional care at more than 180 locations across the region. The Mercy Health – Cincinnati network of care includes five award-winning hospitals, senior living communities, primary care and specialty physician practices, outpatient centers, fitness centers and a variety of outreach programs. Mercy Health - Cincinnati hospitals have earned national Truven Health Analytics’ 100 Top Hospitals honors more times than all other Cincinnati hospitals combined, placing them among the best hospitals in the nation. Truven has also named Mercy Health - Cincinnati as one of the nation’s Top 15 health systems four times, more than any other health system in Cincinnati. Mercy Health – Cincinnati is part of Mercy Health, the largest health system in Ohio and fourth largest employer. To learn more visit, and engage in the conversation via Mercy Health - Cincinnati’s social media channels (@mercy_health on Twitter and Mercy Health - Cincinnati on Facebook).