Heart disease is one of the nation’s deadliest killers taking the lives of almost one million Americans each year. Each of us has a different susceptibility to cardiovascular disease, your fitness level and what you eat plays a major role.
Approximately 64 million Americans have cardiovascular disease, and here is the shocker; as many as 40 percent of those who suffer a heart attack have no symptoms.
A heart attack is known as a myocardial infarction. This occurs when the heart muscle is damaged or does not receive enough oxygen. Many cardiac related problems occur due to blockages in arteries that carry purified blood away from the heart to different parts of the body. Another cause is the formation of blood clots.
It can be quite difficult to differentiate between a heart attack and heartburn. The common signs of a heart attack are a tightness, pain, or discomfort in the chest. Sweating, nausea, and vomiting that are accompanied by intense pressure in the chest. A radiating and intense pain in the chest that extends from the chest to the left arm. A shortness of breath for more than a few minutes. If you have any of the above you must consult the doctor or go to the emergency rooms.
A heart attack may occur due to heart disease but not always, and although it is the leading cause of death it can be prevented for the most part. Women usually have fewer heart attacks than men but after menopause women catch up to men in the number of heart attacks experienced.
So, what are the factors that lead to heart disease?
The most commonly recognized risk factors are:
- High levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol)
- Low levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)
- High Blood-pressure
- Destructive form of amino acid called homocysteine
The heart is the most crucial organ to sustain life and to keep it ticking efficiently, our priority should be to prevent its deterioration. The simplest Mantra for prevention of heart disease is; eat well, exercise and adopt a healthy lifestyle. This has been said countless times before and the simple truth is that those who do follow through with the advice enjoy a much healthier and longer life.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
The American Heart Association lists them as:
- Uncomfortable pressure, fullness or squeezing and excruciating pain in the chest.
- Pain spreading to shoulder, neck, and arms. Specifically left sided neck and arm pain.
- Light headedness, fainting.
- Shortness of breath with little exertion.
- Profuse sweating.
The first hour is very critical, so do not waste time thinking it is gas or indigestion, act immediately and call 911 DO NOT waste time calling your doctor, they’ll ask you to call 911 anyway.
If you even think you are having a heart attack you must call for a cardiac care ambulance, and chew an aspirin. If you are allergic to aspirin do not take one. At the hospital care will include rapid thrombolysis, cardiac catheterization, and angioplasty. They will also administer intravenously clot busting medications.
NOTE: These symptoms may or may not indicate a heart attack. In any case medical help should be sought immediately because some heart attacks are the “silent type”.
Heart disease can be easily prevented it’s just a matter of implementing a healthier lifestyle.
10 Ways to Avoid a Heart Attack
- Quit smoking
- Quit processed foods
- Control high blood pressure
- Control diabetes
- Control weight
- Practicing calming techniques ie. Meditation
- Learn breathing exercises
- Schedule regular doctor visits
- Switch to a healthy plant focused diet
NOTE: Always check with your physician first before changing or implementing any sort of a diet or exercise program especially if you’re taking prescription or over the counter medicines.
Heart diseases and death from it can be prevented by maintaining your health. Find a balance in life between work and other activities, abandon the couch for the outdoors, don’t watch sports on television play sports instead and you can hope to live a long and fulfilled life.
Prevention could lead a whole nation towards good health and well being.