American Heart Month: Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – American Heart Month is all about adopting healthy lifestyles to prevent heart disease.

If you come across someone who can’t breathe and is in need of help, would you know what to do? Those with FM Ambulance say everyone should.

It’s part of the message behind American Heart Month.

“This month is all about educating,” explains Jessica Pergande, an R.N. at Sanford Health’s admission and recovery unit in Fargo. “There’s so many people that just don’t know enough about heart health.”

Pergande says when it comes to heart health, intention is key. “Start off on the right foot and say, ‘I’m going to get 30 minutes of exercise today.'”

Being active, eating healthy foods and decreasing your alcohol intake are all ways of maintaining a healthy heart.

It’s something that hits close to home for Pergande, who lost her mother to heart disease.

She says heart attacks may look different for women than men, which is why it’s important to be aware of changes in your body.

“It’s very much more like a flu symptom versus a heart symptom, so that’s why it’s so scary in women, is because we will look at those symptoms and say, ‘Oh, I just worked too hard at work, I didn’t sleep well enough, I just had a tough week, I’ve just been tired all week,’ when in fact they’re actually experiencing a heart attack or a cardiac event,” Pergande explains.

For someone suffering from a heart attack, hands-only CPR can be the difference between life and death.

“You really can’t mess up,” explain Krystal Mcnamee and Kristi Engelstad with FM Ambulance. “At least you’re doing something, and something is better than nothing.”

If you’re experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 and do not drive yourself to the hospital.

Sanford Heart and Vascular in Fargo is offering heart and vascular screening to the public at a discount for American Heart Month.

Heart and vascular screenings are recommended for people age 40 to 75 and those individuals with risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking history, sedentary lifestyle and/or family history of early coronary artery disease.

For more information, visit and use keywords: vascular screening, heart screening.

For more details on American Heart Month, click here and here.

Categories: Health, Local News, North Dakota News