EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – February kicks off Heart Health Month and local hospitals are encouraging El Pasoans to learn more about cardiovascular diseases and how to prevent them.

Virginia Armendariz, cardiology coordinator for Hospitals of Providence, said they are focusing this year’s campaign on prevention and noticing the signs of a heart attack.

“Visiting your physician, making sure you take your medication as prescribed and doing  things they’ll ask you to do such as watching your blood pressure, making sure you intake a heart healthy diet,” are just some of the preventative measures Armendariz listed.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Armendariz says that people diagnosed with conditions such as hypertension and diabetes are under more risk for a heart attack, so keeping track of your heart health needs to be a priority.

She named some of the most common symptoms of a heart attack such as chest pain and heaviness, numbness in the left arm and jaw as well as nausea and vomiting.

“Every 90 seconds a woman dies from a heart attack in the U.S.,” warned Armendariz explaining how a third of heart attack cases with women have different symptoms.

Women can experience back and neck pain, extreme fatigue and tiredness as some of the symptoms.

If you feel any signs of having a heart attack, Armendariz said, call 911 immediately.

“We have a saying in the hospital that time is muscle, muscle is dying as the heart attack is progressing,” said Armendariz.

The hospital is in close contact with the emergency medical services that alert the medical team to prepare for a heart attack patient before they even get to the hospital.

“We’re trying to reduce the amount of time that keeps that artery open,” added Armendariz.

Hospitals of Providence are inviting El Pasoans to sign up for a newsletter on their website that will be sending out tips and additional information about heart health.