Ways To Prevent A Heart Attack
The American Heart Association estimates that every 40 seconds there is a heart attack in the US. With this concerning number, its understandable that heart attack prevention has become an extremely important issue in the medical community. If you have risk factors for a heart attack, including heart disease, were here to assist.
Our caring professionals at Prime Heart and Vascular in Allen, Frisco, and Plano, Texas are led by Rishin Shah, MD, a board-certified interventional cardiologist and a vascular specialist. Dr. Shah understands how the prevalence of heart attacks is related to a persons health history, but also to lifestyle, and other environmental factors.
What Could We Save If More Of Us Make These Lifestyle Choices
- 655,000 The number of Americans who died from heart disease during 2019. Thats 1 in every 4 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women.
- 365,000 the number of people who die from coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease it is caused by a blockage in the coronary artery.
- 805,000 the number of heart attacks each year in America.
- $219 billion the costs of coronary artery disease alone, including health care services, medications and lost productivity.
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Closely Manage Chronic Conditions
Heart attacks rarely occur randomly they are far more likely to be the end result of a poorly managed diet, along with the presence of other conditions. Roughly 65% of people living with diabetes are affected by heart disease, causing the likelihood of a heart attack to skyrocket. High blood pressure and high blood sugar are a recipe for long-term health issues.
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How To Prevent A Heart Attack
Managing your heart disease risk factors and making healthy lifestyle choices can help you prevent a heart attack.
Ira Yapanda/Shutterstock Everyday Health
There are also modifiable risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and being overweight or obese, that can make a big difference in heart disease risk. The good news is that reducing these major risks for heart disease can help prevent future heart attacks.
How To Prevent Or Stop Heart Attack
About a decade ago, Japanese medical doctors conducted a study with over 200 heart patients. These patients were asked to hyperventilate. As a result, 100% of them naturally experienced coronary artery spasms . If heavy breathing causes heart attacks, then breathing less could stop a heart attack even at home in as little as 30 seconds .
A leading Soviet physiologist Dr. Konstantin Buteyko, MD, Ph.D. , developed a system for breathing normalization. It is now known as the Buteyko breathing method. Dr. Buteyko and his medical colleagues used this method for many thousands of Soviet and Russian heart patients. One of their breathing exercises helps to stop a heart attack, in most cases, naturally at home without using medication. How?
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Did This Study Just Look At Healthy Men
These male subjects were all free of disease when the study launched in the late 1990s. A separate analysis was conducted among more than 7,000 men with hypertension and high cholesterol in 1997, which found that the risk reduction of each healthy behavior was similar to that of men without either condition.
First Know Your Risk Factors For Heart Disease
There are many things women and men can do to prevent a heart attack, says UC Irvine’s Dr. Shaista Malik, a cardiologist specializing in cardiovascular imaging and public health.
The most important step is to identify your own risk factors. “Start by knowing your numbers for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar,” says Malik, medical director of UC Irvines Preventive Cardiology Program. “Almost 50 percent of people who die suddenly from a heart attack have no prior symptoms. Keeping tabs on these numbers gives you a good idea of your heart health.”
Malik answers the following questions about heart attack prevention:
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Understand Heart Attack Risk Factors And Symptoms
Understanding the risk factors associated with heart attacks can help seniors prepare and take control of their own health. People over the age of 65 are much more likely to experience problems with the heart. This can be attributed to factors associated with age, like decreased mobility, changes in blood vessels, and more. Other important risk factors include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Having high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol
- Having diabetes
- A family history of cardiovascular complications
Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms associated with heart-related emergencies can help prevent a disaster. Seniors who experience any changes in breathing, heart rate, etc. should discuss these symptoms immediately with their medical team. The warning signs of a heart attack, however, should never be ignored. Seniors should seek immediate medical attention when experiencing any of the following heart attack symptoms:
- An extreme or crushing pain/pressure in the chest, upper body, neck, and/or arms
- Shortness of breath or inability to breathe
While seniors may be at an increased risk for cardiovascular problems, with the proper prevention, your senior loved one can live a long, heart-healthy life. For more on staying healthy and providing your senior loved one with the care they deserve, contact a Caring team near you today.
Tobacco Smoking And Cardiovascular Disease Risk
As well as causing cancer, tobacco smoking affects the arteries that supply blood to your heart and other parts of your body. It reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood and damages your artery walls. Tobacco smoking also makes your blood stickier, causing blood cells to clump together. This slows blood flow through your arteries and makes blockages more common. Blockages may cause a heart attack or stroke.
Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. Every cigarette that you dont smoke is doing you good. The most effective way to stop smoking is with a combination of:
- stop-smoking medicines such as nicotine replacement therapy.
If you are ready to quit smoking or thinking about quitting smoking, talk to your doctor about ways to help you give up smoking. You can also call the Quitline on Tel. or visit the Quit website.
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Tips To Reduce Your Risk
1. Know your risk factors. Nine out of 10 women have at least one risk factor for heart disease. Risk factors include:
- high blood pressure
- a family history of premature heart disease
Obesity also increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and pre-diabetes, which increases the risk of heart disease. With the exception of family history, you can modify the other risk factors to reduce your risk of heart disease.
2. Manage current health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Talk to your health care provider to confirm the best treatment plan.
3. Recognize symptoms of a heart attack in women, and call 9-1-1 if needed. Know that symptoms in women can be the same or different as those in men.
Symptoms can include:
- extreme fatigue
- breaking out in a cold sweat
As with men, the most common symptom of a heart attack in women is chest discomfort. But you can have a heart attack without chest pain or pressure. And women are more likely than men to have other symptoms, such as back pain, jaw pain, shortness of breath, indigestion, and nausea/vomiting.
If you have these symptoms and suspect youre having a heart attack, call 9-1-1. Call even if youre not sure, it could save your life.
4. Do regular physical activity, and maintain a healthy weight. You dont need to complete all activity at one set time, and its okay if youre not a fan of the gym.
Depression Anxiety Social Isolation And Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Studies have shown that having a mental health condition like depression or anxiety can increase the risk of developing heart disease. People who are socially isolated or do not have good social support are also at greater risk of developing heart disease.
Having social connections, healthy personal relationships and being part of a community are essential to maintain your mental health. Being physically active is one of the most effective ways to improve both your heart health and your mental health.
Depression and anxiety can be treated. If youre feeling lonely, isolated, worried, or depressed, talk to you doctor and reach out to friends and family. You can also get more information and support from Beyond Blue.
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How Soon Can I Return To Regular Activities
After a heart attack, you will want to go back to your regular life. This is especially true if you were in the hospital. However, that depends on your work, recreation and sexual activity as well as the condition of your heart. Start slowly to give your heart a chance to heal. Your doctor will tell you when you can be active again and what you should do. Do not exercise without talking to your doctor first. Sign up for a cardiac rehabilitation program. This monitors your blood pressure, heart rate, and heartbeat as you exercise.
Lower High Blood Pressure
It’s a major risk factor for stroke a leading cause of disability in the United States. Stroke recovery is difficult at best and you could be disabled for life. Shake that salt habit, take your medications as recommended by your doctor and get moving. Those numbers need to get down and stay down. An optimal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mmHg.
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Can Heart Disease Be Reversed Or Cured
You cant reverse coronary artery disease once you have it. And theres no cure. But lifestyle changes and medications as discussed above can slow or stop the progression. Scientists continue to investigate new medications and therapies every day. For now, there are still reasons to be optimistic:
- You can do a lot to prevent or delay heart disease.
- Treatments can help you live longer and enjoy a vibrant quality of life.
Prevention is key when it comes to heart disease. But like in a relay race, when prevention cant go any further, treatment picks up the baton. Its not always possible to prevent heart disease. This is because some risk factors are out of your control. Plus, we all face limitations to our own prevention efforts. Those limitations might be time, money, community resources or personal responsibilities.
Its important to learn how to prevent heart disease, and take whatever steps you can in that direction. But know theres a safety net of treatments available to you if you need them.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
The knowledge that you can prevent or delay heart disease is empowering. But if your best efforts dont lead to the results you want, you may feel discouraged. Some people check off all the boxes on the prevention list yet still develop heart disease.
Sex Age And Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Women and men are both at risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Men have a higher risk than women of developing heart disease in middle age. The risk rises as they get older.For women, the risk increases sharply after menopause. Its thought hormonal changes are likely to play role.
Its important for both women and men to get a Heart Health Check when they become eligible. People aged 45 years and over, or 30 and over for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples can book in for an annual Heart Health Check with their GP.
Women can also have sex-specific risk factors for heart disease, including premature menopause, pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, and some cancer treatments. If you have any of these risk factors, speak to your GP as early as possible to reduce your risk.
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Diabetes And Cardiovascular Disease Risk
People with diabetes are at greater risk of heart attack and stroke than people without diabetes.
The three main types of diabetes are:
- Type 1 diabetes where the body doesnt make insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes where the body becomes resistant to insulin.
- Gestational diabetes, which women can develop during pregnancy.
Insulin is the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels in the body.
Your doctor will check your blood sugar levels as part of a Heart Health Check. Depending on your overall risk of a heart attack or stroke, they may recommend you make changes to your diet and increase your physical activity. Some people with diabetes may also need to take medicines to manage their blood sugar levels.
Tips For Heart Attack Prevention
The goal after your heart attack is to keep your heart healthy and lower your risk of having another heart attack. Take your medications as directed, make healthy lifestyle changes, see your doctor for regular heart checkups, and consider a cardiac rehabilitation program.
Why do I need to take drugs after a heart attack?
You might take certain drugs after a heart attack to:
- Prevent blood clots
- Prevent plaques by lowering cholesterol
Know the names of your medications, what theyâre used for, and when you need to take them. Go over your medications with your doctor or nurse. Keep a list of all your medications, and take it to each of your doctor visits. If you have questions about them, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but don’t skip your medications. Many people don’t take their medications the way their doctor told them to. Figure out what keeps you from taking your medicine — it could be side effects, cost, or forgetfulness — and ask your doctor for help.
What lifestyle changes are needed after a heart attack?
To keep heart disease from getting worse and to head off another heart attack, follow your doctor’s advice. You might need to change your lifestyle. Here are some changes you can make that can cut your risk and put you on the path to a healthier life:
Why should I take part in cardiac rehabilitation?
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What Do I Do If I Have A Heart Attack
After a heart attack, you need quick treatment to open the blocked artery and lessen the damage. At the first signs of a heart attack, call 911. The best time to treat a heart attack is within 1 or 2 hours after symptoms begin. Waiting longer means more damage to your heart and a lower chance of survival.
Take Control Of Any Medical Conditions
The biggest risk factors for heart attacks are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and smoking and about half of Americans have at least one of these risk factors, according to a report from the American Heart Association. Other health conditions that increase the chances of heart disease are diabetes and obesity.
If you have risk factors for heart attacks, work with your doctor to improve your heath and lower your risks. And if youre prescribed medications, make sure you take them.
Do statins prevent heart attacks?
Studies show that statins, medications used to lower cholesterol, can lower your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends statins for adults between the ages of 40 and 75 who have an increased risk of heart disease.
Should you take aspirin to prevent a heart attack?
You may have heard that its a good idea to take a low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks. But depending on your age and health, this may or may not be recommended for you.
If you have heart disease or already had a heart attack or stroke, daily low-dose aspirin can help reduce the risk of a second heart-related event. But if youre a healthy adult, the benefits of aspirin are not as clear.
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Here’s How These Changes Stack Up:
- 36 percent risk reduction attributed to not smoking.
- 18 percent reduction for eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, reduced-fat dairy products, whole grains and fish.
- 12 percent reduction for maintaining a waistline of 37 inches or less .
- 11 percent reduction for drinking fewer than two alcoholic drinks per day.
- 3 percent reduction for moderate daily and weekly exercise routines.
- 1 percent the percentage of study participants who exhibited all five of the healthy habits.
Why dont more people follow all five of these lifestyle choices? It can be overwhelming if people feel they need to make all of these changes at once, said Dr. Sweitzer. Everyone could look at where they can make the biggest impact on their risk reduction and start with one small change. The biggest potential impact, if you smoke, stop!
Taking Care Is Not Enough
Many youngsters are now becoming prone to increasing incidences of heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths. When you look at the bright side of such incidences, the youngsters who succumbed to heart attacks were astonishingly very healthy, they were taking a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and taking care of their health. In spite of all such healthy habits, they became victims.
Sometimes massive heart attacks in seemingly healthy adults especially the ones who are looked upon in high esteem throughout the nation create ripples across the nation. We have already witnessed a few cases of some celebrities succumbing to sudden heart attacks.
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