Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) are the number one cause of death. Among these heart attack and stroke accounts for 85% of the cause of death. It is more common in males, and the average age is 65 of a first heart attack among men. Heart diseases are facilitated by behavioral risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol. The risk factors associated with heart attacks are hypertension, diabetes, Hyperlipidemia, Metabolic Syndrome, and individuals suffering from any other comorbidity.
The vital function of the heart is to circulate oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and remove carbon dioxide and other wastes. Our heart pumps and requires a consistent supply of oxygen-rich blood. The coronary artery supplies the blood to the heart. If the coronary artery becomes narrow due to fatty deposits, it restricts the blood flow. Hence, the blood supply is blocked and causes heart attacks.
The major signs of a heart attack, according to the American Heart Association, are:
- Pain, pressure, or squeezing in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
- Fatigue, lightheaded, or faint. Also, break out into a cold sweat.
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders.
- Shortness of breath. This can happen before or during the chest discomfort.
Still, it is the topmost cause of death worldwide, but its frequency could be reduced by following a few of the preventive measures. Here are a few practicable ways to prevent heart attacks.
Maintain Blood Pressure Level
Individuals with high blood pressure are more prone to heart attacks. It is reported in one of the articles that 62% of men ages 65 to 74 have high blood pressure (BP) and are not aware of the critical issue. The normal range of blood pressure is 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Nowadays, 120 to 129/80 mm Hg is elevated, and 130 to 139/80 to 89 mm Hg considered high. Increased blood pressure restrains the blood flows and forms blood clots. It blocks oxygen-carrying blood from reaching the heart muscle and causes a heart attack. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, but in cases with normal blood pressure may also face heart attacks.
Advice- Regular cardio and weight-lifting exercise help to control blood flow and maintains blood pressure. Another cut down on top of salty foods and other sources of sodium. Excess sodium in our blood forms more water in the body. It causes a rise in blood pressure and harder for our kidneys to remove the excess water.
In recent times, stress is one of the common complaints of the majority of the population. Stress relating factors arise from workplace issues, personal problems, relationship issues, financial constraints, etc. Stressful conditions increase inflammation in our bodies. This raises high blood pressure and lower “good” HDL cholesterol.
Advice- Stress is one of the emotional disorders. To overcome the issue, we should spend some good quality time on ourselves. We should value our hobbies, go on vacation, and our interests. To keep our mind and body active we should also practice yoga and meditation. The importance of self-care is a step towards stress relief and make it a priority in your daily life.
As we all know smoking is injurious to health. According to the FDA smoking increase chance of getting the cardiovascular disease by 25% to 30%. Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. While puffing the cigarette, the smoke enters into the lungs and damage our heart and blood vessels.
Advice- Stop smoking, even avoid occasionally smoking also. Smoking cigars and vaping are also included in this category. Non-smokers need to suffer from heart attacks. But, quit smoking may protect you from the risk and may add many more healthy years to our life.
Obesity or heavyweight is one of the major risk factors for heart attack. After a certain age, we should make the smart choice with our foods. The elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood increases the risk of heart attacks. These LDLs deposits in the bloodstream block the coronary arteries and restricts the blood flow and cause heart attacks. The normal range of LDL blood levels to be less than 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
Advice- To maintain a lower cholesterol level we should depend on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, plant-based proteins, lean animal proteins, and fish. Refined carbohydrates, processed meats, and sweetened drinks should be cut down or should be consumed at a limit. With the growing age, we should check our diet plan and should do regular physical activities. These will help us to stay healthy and active and will lower the risk of a heart attack.
It is recommended that an adult should take six to nine hours of sleep in a day. In 2019, research published which depicted that individuals of 40 to 69 ages, those who slept fewer than six hours per night had a 20% higher risk of having a first heart attack compared with those who slept six to nine hours. However, those who slept more than nine hours had a 34% higher risk.
Proper sleep helps your brain to function well and actively. If a person is not taking sufficient sleep, then they may suffer from sleep disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia which in turn increases the risk of heart attacks. Even too much sleep hinders you our metabolism and we may lead to hormonal imbalance (weight gain, digestion problem, PCOS, etc.).
Advice- For healthy sleep, one must avoid watching TV, use mobile phones, tabs and laptops and computer at least before two to three hours of sleep. Exposure to the blue lights emitting from their screens suppresses melatonin. The release of Melatonin disturbs hormones and causes the sleep-wake cycle.
“Just a few self-care tips for a healthy heart and could add many more years to your life-span”