Keeping your heart healthy is a tricky job and requires a lot of work on your part. However, the heart is one of the vital organs of our body and currently heart diseases are reaching the sky so it kinda becomes important for us to take care of it. Though we are here to know how to prevent heart attack – an emergency condition, I can assure you that practically every heart disease will benefit from these preventions.
Some of the risk factors for heart attacks are modifiable and some are non-modifiable. You can’t just stop someone from aging neither can you change somebody’s sex or race.
Hence there is really no way to escape the risk associated with your race, age, sex or genetics but there are certain other modifiable risk factors which are far more important and can be avoided to prevent heart attack.
Tips To Prevent Heart Attack
To prevent heart attack you must know about heart attack, its causes, and risk factors because in the end prevention is nothing but avoiding risk and heart attack causes.
We are addressing hypertension as a risk factor here, but it can very well be the cause. Hypertension itself has a lot of risk factors which also need to be taken care of.
Hypertension is defined as high blood pressure of more than 140/90 mmhg on several occasion. Any reading of systolic bp more than 200 mmhg can tear you up.
What to do? Keep checking your blood pressure to prevent heart attack. Take your medications regularly if you are a known hypertensive, avoid salt intake, useless stress, smoking etc. Do regular exercises. Monitor your BP on regular basis in a diary and never forget to show your monitored values to the doctor. Sometimes it is quite difficult to diagnose bp in one reading.
Say No To Smoke
Smoking is disastrous for health on so many levels that I simply don’t understand why people do it. Smoking has an additive effect of its own to blood pressure. It causes trauma to endothelial lining of coronary arteries making them more prone to damage and thereby increasing the risk of thrombosis.
Thrombosis in coronary arteries is further responsible for the heart attack.
Better quit now while you are ahead. If you are already diagnosed with heart disease than start working on it. Nicotine patches are available everywhere in the market, take their help. If you still are having trouble quitting, take help of professionals.
Keep Cholesterol In Check
If your cholesterol is controlled, within normal values and you are not planning to build it up in future then heart diseases are the last thing you need to worry about.
Diabetic patients also need to pay attention to this part, for this bad cholesterol build up is the one which is driving you closer to heart attack. Yeah, diabetic patients also have bad cholesterol (LDL, non – HDL cholesterol) profile. Cholesterol causes atherosclerosis, which is a heart attack waiting to happen.
Eat vegetables, a little extra green in your diet. Avoid oily, spicy cholesterol rich diet. No junk food. Go out on a walk. Work on your cardio, burn away the extra fat your body is accumulating. You may need statins to lower your cholesterol level if it is way too much.
Diabetic patients need to keep their sugar in check. Don’t forget to take your medicine and if possible do pre-meal and post-meal sugar charting. This will help you keep sugar in control and will also let u know if you need to go see a doctor.
Go Cardio – to prevent heart attack
Cardio is short for cardiovascular. These are a group of exercises aimed at improving one’s cardiovascular status. A few common cardio exercises are bicycling, running, jogging, swimming, mountain climbing etc. These exercises not only improve a person’s cardiovascular status, but it also helps one in losing weight and decreasing blood cholesterol level.
If you are too busy to opt for a gym, or fit cardio in your daily schedule, you can start by walking in your day today life. Avoid escalators, lifts, after all what are legs for. A 30 minute walk on daily basis is known to reduce the risk of heart attack by half.
Lose Weight to prevent heart attack
Obesity alone is responsible for so much morbidity that I think it should be certified as a disease. Now mind you not every overweight person is obese. It has a BMI ( body mass index) criteria according to which individuals having BMI over 30 are considered obese. BMI between 18 to 25 is considered healthy while that between 25-30 kg/m2 are overweight.
Now that you know what obesity is, you should first get your BMI and see if you are healthy or not. If you are overweight you need to cut back a few of your junk food and add fruits to your dinner table to prevent heart attack.
If you are healthy then you should keep doing whatever you are doing but don’t sit back and start munching unhealthy diet. If you are obese then you better consult a physician, get your heart checked. Consult a dietician, eat healthy mostly fruits and proteins and try to lose weight.
Do Not Stress
Stress, worry, tension, strain, anxiety, depression etc. are all very bad for your heart. You should realise that no matter how much you worry, you are not going to benefit anything. You might have seen it in movies that when a stress presents, old age fellows hold their chest and are then rushed to ER. They might be overdoing but this actually is the reality, stress is a precipitating factor for heart attack.
So what is the connection? Why is it so bad for your heart? Medically stress is a physiological phenomenon associated with rapid sympathetic discharge from adrenal medulla.
Adrenaline and a little amount of noradrenaline are raised in bloodstream which causes rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, constriction of blood vessels etc. Now in a healthy individual this physiological response does not amount much but in an old age diabetic, obese person it may cause a heart attack.
It is a risk and when other risks are also present in the same individual, they have a cumulative effect. Every individual having these comorbidities and diagnosed heart disease should practice relaxing techniques like early morning laughs, yoga, deep breaths when stressed. These will relax your heart and will reduce the risk of heart attack in future.
Eat Healthy For Your Heart
Buddy, you have eaten long enough for yourself. It’s time you start eating for your heart now. I mean yeah you can avoid these risk factors and survive longer but the damage that has been done to your heart is done. Avoiding risk is only going to prevent further damage, It won’t make your heart better. It’s the special diet which is going to do the trick, make your heart young again.
What is this diet you might ask. Well, the usual – avoid trans and saturated fats, drink low-fat milk, eat fresh vegetables, fruits, keep your cholesterol low etc. But there is some special stuff you need to take care of, for a healthy heart.
I have a few of these in my mind like do not eat red meat, deep-fried food, chips etc. Eat a fish daily if possible and preferably a salmon or tuna fish. At least take 3 or 4 servings of fruits daily, add some avocado or nuts in it. Don’t forget to consult your dietitian, for he knows better on how to eat healthy for your heart.
Avoid Sedentary Lifestyle to prevent heart attack
Sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle which involves little or no physical activity. Nowadays, it is quite common in young generation where all they do is sit – eat – watch and eat again. Individual in sedentary lifestyle spend most of their day sitting while in general avoid any work whatsoever. Even if they do some work it is barely a physical task and involves only sitting.
Sedentary lifestyle is pretty risky on its own. Not only in heart diseases but in migraine, diabetes, obesity, anxiety and many more. If you are having such a lifestyle, you should start working yourself more. If possible avoid sitting for long time.
Go out for a walk in your lunch like instead of having lunch in your office, go to the cafeteria. Meet your colleagues in hallway. Make a bet of who can stand more. This will eventually make you an active person and soon a healthy one.
Know Your Family History
Genetics play a huge part of heart disease. Also, the risk factors heart attack is associated with, largely have a genetic component, be it diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension. All three of them have one or another proven genetic component. Research out there is still looking for, and will surely find some more connection in future.
How does it help you? We already know that this is a non modifiable risk factor. Yet there are certain precautions you can take. Look in your family history. Has anyone ever died of heart attack? It is important if the one afflicted with heart disease is your direct blood relative – Your mom, dad or brothers.
If you find such history then get your heart checked at an early age say 40 years and keep at least one visit to the doctor in month for your heart. You can also start avoiding these risk factors we discussed and start making your heart healthier.
No Substance Abuse to prevent heart attack
Substance abuse is a fancy term for drug use. Alcohol and cocaine are usually associated with heart attack. Cocaine can cause coronary artery spasm and thereby a heart attack event. Alcohol on the other hand has mixed review over the internet, though some say it is healthy for your heart, others like me say it’s not. What should one accept?
Well after some hard sought research I would say that one drink a day is good for heart in a healthy person. Now it has so many loopholes. Like how will one define a healthy person? An obese person not having any heart disease or hypertension is healthy? I don’t think so. Again while a single drink is healthy, it is not so for many a drinks. I actually have seen patients who say that they drank 7 drinks on Sunday because they were allowed one drink per day.
You see my point? If not yet then let me help you in other manner. Alcohol is a known risk factor for hypertension. It is a risk factor for pancreatitis. It damages the coronary endothelium. It damages pancreatic cell. It is highly unhealthy for your liver. Better avoid it when you have a chance guys, it won’t help your heart much.
Now that we have discussed all this, there are certain other risk factors which you should know about. You can’t do anything about them because they are non modifiable but you take certain precautions with these other risk factors. These risk factors age over 65 years, male sex, 3 fold increase in heart attack if there is a family history of heart attack, African Caribbean individuals etc.
Though heart attack is a disease of old generation but I can not help but think that one can not make their heart healthy in one month. Make as much effort as possible for your heart till it lasts.
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