Heart attacks cannot be predicted but can surely be prevented. There are many factors that come into play when a heart attack happens. But if conscious steps are taken well in time, there are very high chances that it can be avoided.
Heart attacks and diseases related to the heart are the leading cause of death in the world today. But that does not imply that we have to accept it as fate. We all have some power to control risk factors, but can’t do much about family history, sex or age. By making a few lifestyle changes, heart diseases can be prevented. Find next a short guide on the prevention, risk and symptoms of a heart attack.
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As in any other illness a few precautions taken in time can protect you from a serious trauma like a heart attack. Keep the following points in mind-
1. Quit smoking
Smoking is one of the biggest reasons for putting the heart at risk and for developing heart related diseases. The nicotine in the tobacco causes irreparable damage to the blood vessels and the walls of the heart. It causes the arteries to get narrow, leading to a condition called atherosclerosis. The carbon monoxide in the cigarette smoke replaces the oxygen in the blood. This increases the pressure on the heart and can lead to a heart attack. Women who smoke and take birth control pills are at a greater danger than those who don’t. But there is hope, the moment you quit the risk drops to that of a non smoker in five years.
2. Exercise for 30 minutes everyday
Regular exercise and healthy food never hurt anybody. Physical activity, with a well balanced diet and weight control always pays off big time. A fit body will put less stress on the heart and reduce chances of high blood pressure and diabetes. An exercise regimen for even 20 minutes a day is better than lack of complete exercise. Even small tasks like gardening, housekeeping and walking the stairs are part of the exercise regime.
3. Eat Healthy
Eating healthy can reduce the risks of a heart disease considerably. A well balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains will provide the protection needed for a healthy heart. Low fat food will maintain the cholesterol level in the body. Avoiding foods that contain saturated fat and trans fat will help in marinating the total fat value in the meals. Having a generous serving of fruits will provide immunity against cancer and diabetes. Eating fish regularly is known to decrease the risk of a heart attack.
4. Maintain Normal Weight
People who carry excess weight around the middle have a higher risk of having a heart attack. They already have high blood pressure and cholesterol. The BMI or body mass index should be checked regularly and kept at the right levels. Losing weight even in small portions can reduce the pressure on the heart by 5 to ten percent.
5. Sleep Well
Sleep deprivation causes more problems than we can imagine. People who do not get a good night sleep are more prone to obesity, rising blood pressure, depression and diabetes. If a person can wake up fresh without an alarm clock then he or she is getting enough sleep. Those who keep snoozing the alarm need more sleep. Sleep should also be a priority like everything else. By sticking to a sleeping and waking schedule the body is able to rest better. For those who are sleep deprived and have trouble breathing in the night should contact a doctor right away.
6. Regular Health Check-Up
What is happening inside the body will be deduced only when a person goes for a health screening regularly. Test and other evaluations will reflect the actual level of healthiness of the body. The doctor should be visited periodically to check the cholesterol levels, blood pressure and diabetes.
B. Risk Factors
Some factors related to heart diseases are controllable others not. Almost 1.2 million people have a heart attack very year. More than forty percent do not survive it. Have a look at the risks-
The Uncontrollable Risks are-
- Male sex
- A history of heart diseases
- Post- menopausal
- African Americans, American Indians, and Mexican Americans more prone
The Controllable Risks are-
- High levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol
- Amount of physical activity
- Uncontrolled Diabetes
- Out of control stress and anger
1. Fatigue and shortness of breath
Extreme tiredness and shortness of breath is a sign that the body needs rest. It could also mean that the heart is in trouble. These symptoms might be visible sometime months before a heart attack. Do not ignore them and go to a doctor.
2. Excessive Sweating At Night And Day
Sweating without any exercise is an early sign of a heart problem. In cases where the arteries have got blocked the heart has to work harder to pump the blood. Cold sweat should be taken very seriously and a doctor should be consulted right away. Night sweat is very common in women who have heart trouble.
3. Vomiting and Indigestion
It is commonly seen that indigestion problems like nausea and heartburn are not associates with a heart attack. But they could also be a symptom of a pertaining heart attack. If a patient has an iron stomach and has sudden indigestion and heart burn, it could be the signal of a heart attack.
4. Chest Pain, Discomfort and Pressure
Tightness in the chest is the most recognized of a heart attack. The pain is very severe and the person starts gasping for breath. In some cases the pain shoots down the left arm or other parts of the body too. There could be pain in the shoulder, back, throat or jaw too.
Always have an emergency plan in action. This is most critical in homes where there is a member with a heart history. The medicines that are being taken should be clearly noted somewhere. The list should be handy and a friend or family member should be aware of it. Most people survive a heart attack and lead normal lives. The important thing is to get treatment at the earliest. Details of a medical transportation services company should be kept handy.