How to Avoid Heart Attack As Much As Possible

icon-blog By -Dr. Kanika Sharma
icon-blog By -January 19, 2024
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Understanding How to Avoid Heart Attack As Much As Possible

The daily choices each of us makes have a profound impact on the likelihood of developing chronic diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Numerous studies emphasize that maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity, weight management, proper nutrition, and avoiding tobacco products, significantly reduces the risk of CVDs. CVD is an umbrella of various interconnected pathologies that may end up in heart attacks or heat failures. These diseases are coronary heart disease (CHD), peripheral arterial disease, cerebrovascular disease, congenital heart diseases, rheumatic heart disease, and venous thromboembolism. Globally, heart attacks remain a significant concern in terms of both fatalities and disabilities. Approximately 31% of global fatalities are attributed to heart ailments, primarily coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular accidents. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 75% of premature heart disorders are preventable through mitigating risk factors. With an increasing prevalence due to improved treatment modalities that enhance survival, aging population and costs of chronic medical care is rising. Seeing the prevailing situation, primary prevention of heart diseases becomes crucial. 

Even with strong evidence that links lifestyle factors to CVD, only a small percentage of people follow the recommended practices for regular physical activity, healthy eating, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking. Only 5% of people, according to the American Heart Association, adopt all these lifestyle recommendations to achieve "ideal" heart health. The challenge that the medical and healthcare sectors currently face is to incorporate this knowledge into routine medical procedures with greater vigor. As crucial steps to prevent heart attacks, the World Health Organisation advises adopting a healthy diet, quitting smoking, and doing regular exercise.

What Risk Factors Associated with Heart Attack?

Several risk factors that contribute to heart ailments are obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, aging, male sex predominance, metabolic syndrome, and physical inactivity. 

  • Obesity or excessive body weight issues: These issues are prevalent in over 50% of individuals globally. This is one of the major causative factors behind heart attack causing risk factors such as high blood pressure, stroke, myocardial infarction, and insulin resistance. 
  • Type 2 diabetes: It is characterized by high blood glucose and low insulin sensitivity, adds to the medical care burden with its complications like myocardial infarction, high blood pressure, peripheral vascular disease, and coronary artery disease.
  • Aging: It is an inevitable and significant risk factor behind heart attacks. As aging leads to the decline of mitochondrial functions, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and disruption of ionic balance in the body. 
  • Metabolic syndrome: Characterized by low high-density lipoprotein (HDL), high triglycerides (TG), high blood pressure, high blood glucose, and central obesity, metabolic syndrome poses additional risks for developing heart diseases and type 2 diabetes. 
  • Physical inactivity: It is identified as the fourth leading cause of death globally, contributes to approximately 3.2 million deaths annually, leading to 6% of worldwide coronary heart disease occurrences.
  • Modifiable factors: Unhealthy and untimely eating increases the risk of various metabolic disorders which may ultimately lead to heart attacks. Limit alcohol intake and smoking. As excessive alcohol drinking and smoking also pave paths to many lifestyle based disorders like high blood pressure, impaired lung function, disturbed body metabolism, and many more which may end up in a heart attack.

Heart Attack Prevention Strategies

  • Primary prevention strategies: These strategies are intended to prevent heart attacks in the individuals who are at high risks but have no previous history of heart disorder. This includes modifying one's lifestyle through improving nutrition intake, exercising, and quitting smoking. To lower the risk of any heart disease, strict management of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high blood cholesterol levels is exercised.
  • Secondary prevention strategies: These strategies are therapies that help in preventing any further heart damage in those who already have a history of any heart disease. The recommendations, which include nutrition, exercise, and quitting smoking, are largely the same as those for primary prevention. Pharmacological therapy is also a major component of secondary prevention. This could involve giving metformin for elevated blood glucose, high intensity or maximally tolerated statins for elevated blood cholesterol, and low dose aspirin or clopidogrel for venous thromboembolism.

Tips to Stay Healthy and Prevent Heart Attack

1. Stop Smoking

Giving up smoking or using smokeless tobacco is one of the most effective things you can do for your heart's wellness. Make sure to avoid breathing in secondhand smoke regardless of whether you don't smoke. Tobacco contains chemicals that can harm blood vessels and the heart. Because cigarette smoke reduces blood oxygen levels, blood pressure and heart rate are elevated. This is because it takes more effort on the part of the heart to pump enough oxygen to the body and brain.

However, there is good news. As soon as one day after stopping, there is a reduction in the risk of heart disease. One year of quitting smoking reduces one's risk of heart disease by approximately half compared to smokers. As soon as you stop smoking, no matter how long or how much you smoked, you'll start to benefit.

Be Physically Active

Physical activity on a daily basis can reduce the risk of heart disease. Engaging in physical activity aids in weight control. It also lessens the likelihood of developing other illnesses that might put stress on the heart. These include type 2 diabetes, elevated blood pressure, and elevated blood cholesterol level. You might need to gradually increase your activity level to reach these goals if you haven't been active in a while. In general, though, you ought to try to at least:

  • 150 minutes a week should be dedicated to moderate aerobic activity, like brisk walking.
  • 75 minutes per week of intense aerobic exercise, like jogging.
  • Strength training twice a week or more

Tasks like housework, gardening, stair climbing, and strolling with your dog all contribute to your overall score. To get the benefits, you don't need to work out hard. However, increasing the intensity, duration, and frequency of your workouts will yield greater benefits.

Choose Good Nutrition

A heart-healthy diet can lower high blood pressure & blood cholesterol, manage diabetes, and protect the heart. A diet that is good for the heart consists of:

  • Fruits & vegetables.
  • Legumes, such as beans.
  • Seafood 
  • Lean meats
  • Dairy items with reduced or no fat.
  • Whole grains
  • Fats that are healthy, like avocado and olive oil.

The Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan are two instances of heart-healthy diets.

  • Reduce the intake of the following:
  • Salt or meals high in sodium.
  • Sugar or drinks with added sweetness.
  • Extremely refined carbs
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Food that has been highly processed, like processed meats
  • Red meat, full-fat dairy products, coconut oil, and palm oil all contain saturated fat
  • Trans fat, present in certain fast food items that are fried, chips, and baked goods

Aim For a Healthy Weight

Heart disease is more likely in those who are overweight, particularly in the middle of their bodies. Conditions that increase the risk of heart disease can be brought on by being overweight. Among these ailments are type 2 diabetes, elevated blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol.

The body mass index (BMI) determines an individual's overweight or obese status based on their height and weight. Overweight is defined as having a BMI of 25 or higher. It is generally associated with elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, and a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. A tiny weight loss can still have health benefits. Even a small weight loss of 3% to 5% can help reduce blood triglycerides, a type of fat. It has the ability to decrease glucose, or blood sugar. 

Get Enough Sleep

Individuals who don't get enough sleep are more likely to develop diabetes, anxiety, hypertension, overweight or obesity, and heart attacks. The majority of adults require seven hours or more of sleep every night. Typically, children require more. Thus, be sure to get adequate sleep. Establish a sleep schedule and follow it. Set your bedtime and wake-up times for each day to achieve that. Maintain a calm and dark bedroom to facilitate better sleep.

Reduce Stress

Chronic stress can contribute to elevated blood pressure and other heart attack risk factors. Stress can also be managed by some people in unhealthy ways. For instance, they might smoke, drink too much, or overeat. By reducing your stress in different ways, you can improve your health. Exercise, mindfulness, yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques are examples of healthy coping mechanisms.

Go For Health Screening Tests Regularly

The heart and blood vessels can be harmed by high blood pressure and cholesterol. However, you probably won't be aware if you're suffering from these ailments if you don't get examined for them. You can find out what's happening and whether or not you need to take action by getting screening tests on a regular basis.

Prevent Infections

Cardiac infections can result from specific infections. For example, heart and blood vessel diseases may be predisposed to gum disease. Therefore, floss and brush every day. As well, schedule routine dental exams. Heart problems that already exist can worsen due to other infections. Vaccines aid in the prevention of infectious diseases. Thus, keep abreast of the following shots:

  • Flu shot every year.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine reduces the risk of severe illness.
  • Vaccination against pneumococcal disease, which lowers the risk of some bacterial infections.
  • Tdap vaccination offers protection against pertussis, diphtheria, and tetanus

Frequently Asked Questions

How to keep your heart healthy?

Adopting a healthy diet, quitting smoking, and doing regular exercise are the main mantras of keeping your heart healthy.

What are the tricks to prevent a heart attack?

Getting screened regularly for your heart health and taking the appropriate “lifestyle medicine” as soon as possible can help in preventing a heart attack.

What is the first call of action for a heart attack?

After you call for emergency medical assistance, start CPR to maintain blood flow if the person is not breathing or if you are unable to find a pulse. Apply repeated pressure on the person's chest center with hands in a reasonably quick rhythm (between 100 and 120 compressions per minute).

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