By Elana B. Multi award-winning writer, advertiser and internationally published author
Regardless of age, the sooner you begin reducing your risk of having a heart attack, the longer and stronger your heart will be. So how best do you prevent a heart attack? The best way is by educating and implementing a good physical exercise program, incorporating a healthy nutritional diet, limiting alcohol and avoiding smoking. For most people, it is pretty straight forward. Does that mean it is easy? Not necessarily. The average American diet has way too many prepackaged, sodium-filled, and bad cholesterol foods to make it completely easy. But if you plan ahead, shop for fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and healthy fiber-rich foods, and stay away from cigarette smoke and smoking, as well as exercise on a regular basis, you can certainly greatly limit your chances of suffering a heart attack.
What is a heart attack?
During a heart attack the heart muscle loses its blood supply and starts to suffer injury. How much damage occurs depends on the size of the area that is supplied by the blocked artery, as well as the lapse in time between injury and treatment.
A heart attack happens when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked and the heart can’t get oxygen. If blood flow isn’t restored quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to die.
If you know you’re at higher risk of a heart attack due to circumstances beyond your control, pay close attention to lifestyle factors that you can control and change to cut your risk of heart attack.
Other names for a heart attack are: myocardial infarction, cardiac infarction and coronary thrombosis.
What puts me at risk of a heart attack?
Men have a greater risk of heart attack than women do, and they have attacks earlier in life. After menopause, women’s death rate from heart disease significantly increases.
Other risk factors of suffering a heart attack: If you have a close relative such as a parent or sibling who developed heart disease prematurely and who had a heart attack. Despite the fact of having a family history of heart disease does not necessarily mean that you are doomed to suffer their fate. While it could be genetic, it could also be that “they had a bad lifestyle” and that’s what really caused their heart problems. A healthy lifestyle, regular check-ups, and paying attention to your overall health and wellness can help. So what else raises my chance of having a heart attack?
• Cholesterol levels, especially high LDL (bad cholesterol) and low HDL (good cholesterol) could lead to heart problems and a greater risk of heart attack. So if your total cholesterol is rising, so is your risk of heart disease.
• About one in three adults in America has high blood pressure, which makes the heart work harder to pump blood. Hypertension increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and heart failure. High blood pressure can be controlled with medication. Things like losing weight, becoming more active, eating less salt, and drinking less alcohol, can all help to a lower blood pressure.
• Age. Men age 45 or older and women age 55 or older are more likely to have a heart attack than are younger men and women.
• Tobacco. Smoking and long-term exposure to secondhand smoke increase the risk of a heart attack.
• Diabetes. Insulin, a hormone secreted by your pancreas, allows your body to use glucose, a form of sugar. Not producing enough insulin or not responding to insulin properly causes your body’s blood sugar levels to rise, which increases your risk of a heart attack.
• Triglyceride levels. A high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol ( “bad” cholesterol) is most likely to narrow arteries. However, a high level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) lowers your risk of heart attack.
• Being a couch potato. Lack of physical activity and an inactive lifestyle contributes to high blood cholesterol levels and obesity. People who get regular exercise (especially aerobic exercise) have better cardiovascular fitness, which decreases their overall risk of heart attack.
• Obesity. Obesity is associated with high blood cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure and diabetes.
• A history of preeclampsia. This condition causes high blood pressure during pregnancy and increases the risk of heart disease.
• Illegal drug use. Using stimulant drugs, such as cocaine or amphetamines, can cause a heart attack.
• An autoimmune condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other autoimmune conditions can increase your risk of having a heart attack.
• Improper diet. Proper nutrition is a fundamental element in maintaining good overall health.A diet rich in natural, organic foods, such as: fruits, vegetables, fish, lean protein, and whole grains, as well as plenty of water, and low in refined sugars and carbohydrates is key to maintaining heart health.
• Abuse of alcohol. A small amount of alcohol is okay for some people. If you have a preexisting condition which prohibits alcohol use, you can only damage yourself by partaking. Alcohol such as red wine has some benefits but this is in moderation. If you don’t need an occasional drink, it is better to avoid alcohol altogether.
Consult your doctor before using any health treatment, plan, or activity — including herbal supplements and natural remedies. Also, tell your doctor if you have a serious medical condition or are taking any medications. The information presented here is for educational purposes only and is in no way intended as substitute for medical counseling.
About the author: Elana B. is an award-winning writer, speaker, and internationally published author. As a writer and ghostwriter she has written hundreds of stories from shorts to books to screenplays.
A gifted storyteller, Elana B.’s new children’s series, Too Terribly Busy and the “Too Terribly” Series of books, teach in a fun, creative way some of the most important lessons in life. Through this entertaining series of books, children will learn morals, manners, how important it is to achieve goals, as well as conflict resolution. Sneak peek of the first story in the new series: TooTerriblyBusy-SP1.
More by Elana B. and other related articles:
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