Heart attack or myocardial infarction happens when the coronary artery is blocked and blood flow through the heart is interrupted. It’s usually a result of coronary artery disease (CAD). Having a healthy lifestyle is the key to prevent heart attack. Here are a few tips to healthy living.
Have a healthy diet. Do the DASH. These are dietary approaches to stop hypertension. Limit your cholesterol, fat and sodium intake. Eat as much fruits and vegetables as you can. Check the nutrition labels of the food you buy.
Saturated and trans fat increase your blood cholesterol level. Try not to eat processed foods. These have a higher amount of sodium than those that are not. Fish is a good source of protein that doesn’t have too much fat. It also has omega-3 fatty acid that is good for your heart.
Exercise often. If you’re overweight, lose those extra fat by exercising regularly. Knowing your body mass index (BMI) will help you determine your ideal weight. A BMI of 25 and above is considered overweight.
Quit smoking. Smoking is one of the risk factors of heart attack. The chemicals you get from cigarettes damage your heart. Nicotine stimulates your heart to work harder by narrowing blood vessels and arteries. It increases your blood pressure and heart rate.
Avoid drinking alcoholic drinks. It’s better not to drink any at all, but if you can’t, do it in moderation.
Treat conditions that may lead to heart attack.
High blood pressure – You can control your blood pressure by having a proper diet and taking prescribed medicines. Have your blood pressure checked frequently especially if it’s less than or greater than the normal value of 120/80 mmHg.
High blood cholesterol level – Monitoring your levels will prevent coronary artery disease. This is a condition where plaque, a fatty material, accumulates on the arterial walls. As it builds up over time, it eventually blocks the passage of blood and heart attack may occur.
High blood sugar – Diabetics are predisposed to heart attack. Make sure that your blood glucose is properly monitored and you are receiving the right treatments to control it.
Be aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Not all heart attacks start with a sudden crushing pain. Some start with mild pain and gradually increases. Don’t take that chest pain you’re feeling for granted. It may be a sign of an impending heart attack. Chest pain is also called angina. Experiencing any type of angina frequently is an early warning for you to go see your doctor. There are several types of this pain:
Stable angina is the most common type and happens when the heart is working harder than usual and is relieved by rest or medicine.
Unstable angina is unpredictable and may occur anytime. Rest and medications usually doesn’t make the pain go away.
Prinzmetal’s angina is the rare kind of chest pain. It occurs when you’re at rest and can be relieved by medicine.
People at risk are smokers, men older than 45, and women taking birth control pills and older than 55. Obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and a familial history of coronary artery disease are also factors that may increase your chances of having a heart attack.
Blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels should always be monitored and kept within the normal range.
Early signs of an impending heart attack are shortness of breath, nausea, chest pain radiating to the shoulders and lightheadedness.
Eating the right food and exercising regularly will make you fit and keep diseases away. Live right, take care of your heart and be happy.