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How To Prevent A Stroke Or Heart Attack

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Risk Factors For Stroke

Can Aspirin Prevent a First Heart Attack or Stroke?

According to the National Institutes of Healths National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, risk factors for stroke include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart diseases such as cardiomyopathy and atrial fibrillation
  • Diabetes
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Taking birth control
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Personal or family history of stroke or heart disease
  • Brain aneurysms or blood vessel malformations
  • Obesity

Am I At Risk For Stroke

The number one risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. High blood pressure has no signs or symptoms, so it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

Ask your doctor how often you need to get your blood pressure checked. You can also ask whether measuring your blood pressure at home is right for you.

Other risk factors for stroke include:

  • Smoking
  • Using illegal drugs
  • Diabetes
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • High cholesterol

You are at higher risk of having a stroke as you get older. You may also be more at risk if someone in your family has had a stroke. Make sure you know your familys medical history and share it with your doctor.

How Can You Reduce Your Risk

You can use healthy lifestyle changes and medicines to reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. You can also balance the risks and benefits of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy when you decide whether or not to use them.

Heart-healthy lifestyle

A heart-healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. And it can help you manage other problems that raise your risk. These problems include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Heart-healthy habits include not smoking, eating heart-healthy foods, exercising regularly, and staying at a healthy weight.


You might take medicines, along with making healthy lifestyle changes, to lower your risk. These medicines include:

  • Diabetes medicine.
  • Cholesterol medicine.
  • Aspirin. Your doctor may suggest that you take a daily, low-dose aspirin if the benefits of aspirin to prevent a stroke are greater than the risk of stomach bleeding from taking daily aspirin. But the daily use of low-dose aspirin in healthy women who are at low risk of stroke is not recommended.footnote 3
  • An anticoagulant, also called a blood thinner, to lower your risk of stroke if you have atrial fibrillation.

Birth control and hormone therapy

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How Does Your Doctor Check Your Risk

Your doctor can check your risk for a heart attack and stroke by assessing the number of risk factors you have. Your doctor will look at things like your cholesterol, blood pressure, and your age and race.

Knowing your risk is just the starting point for you and your doctor. Knowing your risk can help you and your doctor talk about whether you need to lower your risk. Together, you can decide what treatment is best for you.

What Are Symptoms Of A Stroke

The 25+ best Prevent heart attack ideas on Pinterest ...

A stroke happens when a blood clot blocks the blood supply to a part of the brain, or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain can become damaged or die. Recovery from a stroke can take months or years. Some patients never fully recover.

The acronym FAST will help you recognize the warning signs of a stroke in yourself or a loved one:

  • Face: Drooping on one side of face, numbness or sudden drooling.
  • Arms: Trouble holding things or walking, numbness, or one arm drifts down or cant be raised.
  • Speech: Slurred speech that doesnt make sense and trouble reading, writing and understanding what people are saying.
  • Time: If you suspect a stroke, act quickly. Time is critical in preserving brain function.

Aileen Sauris is a Nurse Practitioner in the Cardiovascular Wellness Service at Brigham and Womens Hospital where she coordinates multidisciplinary patient care for the prevention of heart disease.

Ali Aziz-Sultan, MD, is Chief of Vascular/Endovascular Neurosurgery in the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital .

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How Can I Avoid Heart Disease Or Stroke

European Society of Cardiology
As much as 90% of the risk of a heart attack, stroke, or peripheral arterial disease can be explained by smoking, poor eating habits, lack of physical activity, abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, raised blood lipid levels, diabetes, psychosocial factors, or alcohol. These guidelines focus on atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease , which affects the arteries. As the inside of the arteries become clogged up by fatty deposits, they can no longer supply enough blood to the body. This process is the main cause of heart attacks, strokes, PAD and sudden death where arteries become completely blocked. The most important way to prevent these conditions is to adopt a healthy lifestyle throughout life, especially not smoking, and to treat risk factors.

The European Society of Cardiology Guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention in clinical practice are published online today in European Heart Journal.

Recommendations are provided for healthy adults of all ages, as well as patients with established CVD or diabetes. Identifying who will benefit most from preventive treatments, such as blood pressure and lipid lowering therapies, is central to prevention efforts and therefore the estimation of CVD risk is the cornerstone of the guidelines.

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Fun Facts About Heart

  • 3 billion; heart beats in an average lifetime
  • 350;grams ;that’s how heavy a heart is
  • 1967 the first successful heart transplant in the world
  • 2 + 2 two ventricles and two atriums
  • 3 the heartbeat of the baby can be distinguished in the third week of pregnancy
  • 5 the heart pumps out 5 litres of blood every minute

The first heart transplant was performed in 1967 in Cape Town. A year later, in 1968, it was performed in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia.

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Who Should Not Take Aspirin

People who have certain health problems shouldn’t take aspirin. These include people who:

  • Have a stomach ulcer.
  • Have recently had a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain.
  • Are allergic to aspirin.
  • Have asthma that is made worse by aspirin.

If you think you are having a stroke, do not take aspirin because not all strokes are caused by clots. Aspirin could make some strokes worse.

Gout can become worse or hard to treat for some people who take aspirin.

If you take some other blood thinner, talk with your doctor before taking aspirin, because taking both medicines can cause bleeding problems.

Conditions With Similar Symptoms To A Heart Attack

Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention

Other medical conditions can have similar symptoms and can affect the heart.

These conditions include:

Angina: A symptom of coronary artery disease that causes chest pain or discomfort due to the heart muscle not getting enough blood. Angina may feel like pressure or a squeezing pain in the chest area.

Aortic aneurysm and dissection: An enlargement that can burst or tear in the aorta, the main artery in the body. This is a life-threatening emergency.

Arrhythmias: Irregular or unusually fast or slow heartbeats. These can develop into more serious medical conditions such as atrial fibrillation, which can cause a stroke.

A blood clot in the lung: This can result from deep vein thrombosis, when a clot forms, often in the lower leg, and a part of it breaks off and travels to the lung. This needs emergency medical treatment.

Heartburn, acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux : This can also feel like a heart attack by causing severe chest pain.

Musculoskeletal pain: Sometimes damage to a muscle in the chest, neck, or arm can lead to pain that may resemble that which occurs with a heart attack.

Panic disorders, anxiety, depression, and emotional stress can also cause chest pain in some people.

It is important to seek emergency medical treatment for chest pain to be sure it is not a heart attack or another serious medical condition.

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Here Are A Few Simple Things That You Can Do To Prevent Your Heart From Getting A Blockage

Written by Debjani Arora | Updated : February 24, 2015 7:10 PM IST

Clogged arteries or atherosclerosis is one of the prime reasons for heart attack in many. While sedentary lifestyle, bad eating habits and lack of physical activity are often blamed for this condition, a lot can be done to reverse the outcome of these habits. Here are a few things that you can do to prevent blockage in your heart.

#1 Quit smoking: Smoking has always been linked to heart diseases. There are some 4,000 odd chemicals that are inhaled into the system when you smoke and they do no good to health. In fact, these chemicals constrict the arteries of the heart which leads to clogging. Secondhand smoke is equally dangerous and increases one s chances of blockage. Apart from this, environmental pollution is also responsible. The toxics inhaled from the environment are absorbed into the blood, causing inflammation in blood vessels, increased blood pressure, and clogged arteries. Here are 10 more reasons why smoking is bad for you.

Who Should Take Aspirin

For people who have had a heart attack: Aspirin can help prevent a second heart attack. Your doctor has probably already prescribed aspirin for you.

For people who have had a stroke: Aspirin can help prevent a second stroke or a transient ischemic attack , which is often a warning sign of a stroke.

For people who have never had a heart attack or stroke: Talk to your doctor before you start taking aspirin every day. Aspirin lowers the risk of heart attack. But aspirin can also cause serious bleeding. And it is not clear that aspirin can help prevent a stroke if you have not already had a heart attack or stroke in the past. You and your doctor can decide if aspirin is a good choice for you based on your risk of a heart attack and your risk of serious bleeding. For help on this decision, see: Aspirin: Should I Take Daily Aspirin to Prevent a Heart Attack or Stroke?.

Aspirin may also be used by people who:

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Strokes And Heart Attacks Symptoms: What’s The Difference

Although their symptoms and effects can be similar, strokes and heart attacks are two different medical problems. Both are vascular events, meaning they involve the blood vessels, the arteries in particular. Both conditions can also lead to disability and death.

Heart attack

Heart attacks are almost always the result of progressive coronary artery disease . In CAD, the arteries that supply blood to the heart become choked with fatty deposits called plaque that narrow and block arteries – a condition called atherosclerosis. When pieces of plaque break free, blood clots can form, blocking the flow of blood to the heart. When that happens, the heart muscle does not get the oxygen and nutrients that it needs, and parts of the heart may become damaged or die. This is a heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction .


When the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, causing a part of the brain to die, it’s called a stroke, or “brain attack.” Stroke is similar to a heart attack, but it affects the blood vessels in the brain instead of the heart.

When the flow of blood to the brain is blocked by a clot, it’s called an ischemic stroke. Another type of stroke, called a transient ischemic attack, is sometimes called a “mini stroke” and is caused by a temporary clot.

Causes of heart attack and stroke

Reducing your risk for heart attack and stroke

Have Someone Call An Ambulance

Pin by Aife Iam on Heart Health

If others are around, tell them to stay with you until emergency medical services workers arrive. Calling 911 is usually the fastest way to get emergency care, as opposed to asking someone to drive you to a hospital in their car. EMS workers are trained to revive people experiencing heart attacks and can also transport you to the hospital for rapid care.

If youre in a public space such as a store, school, library, or workplace, theres a good chance theres a defibrillator on hand.

A defibrillator is the kind of device EMS workers use to revive people who are experiencing heart attacks. If youre still conscious at the onset of your heart attack, instruct someone nearby to find the closest defibrillator. Defibrillators come with easy-to-use instructions, so its possible for a non-EMS worker to revive you if the heart attack strikes.

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Emerging Issues In Heart Disease And Stroke

No national system exists to collect data on how often cardiovascular events occur or recur, or how often they result in disability and death. Similarly, there is inadequate tracking of quality indicators across the continuum of care, from risk factor prevention through treatment of acute events to posthospitalization and rehabilitation. New measures and tools are needed to monitor improvement in cardiovascular health and cardiovascular care over the next decade.

Other emerging issues in cardiovascular health include:

  • Defining and measuring overall cardiovascular health
  • Assessing and communicating lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Addressing depression as a risk factor for and associated condition of heart disease and stroke
  • Examining cognitive impairment due to cardiovascular disease
  • Dealing with substantial gaps in the cardiovascular surveillance system

If You Drink Do It In Moderation

Drinking a little alcohol is okay, and it may decrease your risk of stroke. Studies show that if you have about one drink per day, your risk may be lower. Once you start drinking more than two drinks per day, your risk goes up very sharply.

Your goal:;Don’t drink alcohol or do it in moderation.

How to achieve it:

  • Have no more than one glass of alcohol a day.
  • Make red wine your first choice, because it contains resveratrol, which is thought to protect the heart and brain.
  • Watch your portion sizes. A standard-sized drink is a 5-ounce glass of wine, 12-ounce beer, or 1.5-ounce glass of hard liquor.

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How Does Aspirin Work To Prevent A Heart Attack Or Stroke

Aspirin slows the blood’s clotting action by reducing the clumping of platelets. Platelets are cells that clump together and help to form blood clots. Aspirin keeps platelets from clumping together, thus helping to prevent or reduce blood clots.

During a heart attack, blood clots form in an already-narrowed artery and block the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle . When taken during a heart attack, aspirin slows clotting and decreases the size of the forming blood clot. Taken daily, aspirin’s anti-clotting action helps prevent a first or second heart attack.

Adopt A Simple And Affordable Lifestyle To Prevent Heart Attacks

How to Prevent a Million Heart Attacks and Strokes

Many young and middle-aged people today are dying of sudden heart attacks. Studies show that cardiovascular diseases strike Indians a decade earlier compared to their Western counterparts.

Many young and middle-aged people today are dying of sudden heart attacks. Studies show that cardiovascular diseases strike Indians a decade earlier compared to their Western counterparts.

Why is this happening? How can we prevent it? Are we just focused on post-heart attack action? Or should we be focused more on prevention?

Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine shares an input that could prevent heart attacks at a young age:

Cholesterol is not the culprit, inflammation is: Many people believe that high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are the sole culprits behind their heart attacks. The main reasons behind most heart attacks are inflammation and oxidative damage in the heart, blood vessels, endothelial lining, arteries, and more. While maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is important, we cannot blame heart attacks on cholesterol levels alone.

What then can you do to keep inflammation in check and your heart strong? Adopt simple lifestyle changes.

Learn to accept and let go. Build your self-worth, create a beautiful inner world, reflect inwards, and allow these teachings to slip into your daily living.

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Diet And High Blood Pressure

The advice on eating a healthy, balanced diet also applies if you have high blood pressure. In addition, cut down on the amount of salt in your food.

Salt raises blood pressure. The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure. You should aim to eat less than 6g of salt a day that’s around 1 teaspoonful.

Find out how to cut down on salt.

Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre such as wholegrain rice, bread, pasta and plenty of fruit and vegetables has been proven to help lower blood pressure. Fruit and vegetables also contain vital vitamins and minerals and help keep your body healthy.

You should aim to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

Find out more about getting your 5 A Day.

Consider Red Wine For Heart Health

Much has been made of the heart-health benefits of drinking red wine, but the evidence is still mixed. Some studies, such as one published in November 2018 in Nutrients, have shown that resveratrol, a substance found in red wine, may help decrease inflammation that adversely affects heart health. Red wine also contains antioxidants and may also raise levels of HDL in the blood. However, other evidence has suggested that, in moderation, alcohol of any kind such as beer, red or white wine, or hard spirits may help raise good cholesterol. And if you currently dont drink alcohol, the possible boost to heart health isnt a reason to start there are plenty of other ways to help your heart, such as regular exercise and a healthy diet. If you do drink, know that the heart benefits only apply if you drink in moderation, which is defined as one serving per day for women and two per day for men. A serving of alcohol equates to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard spirits.

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