How to prevent a heart attack? What are the symptoms of heart attack? What's the difference between heart attack & cardiac arrest?
Heart Attack is a leading cause of death in India both across rural & urban populations. Every minute 4 people die of heart attack between the 30-50 age group. Cardiovascular Diseases, especially coronary artery disease is an epidemic in India, it tends to happen at an earlier age than in western countries.
The deposit of fat in the blood vessels leads to a build-up of plaque in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. This build-up of plaque is also known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is caused by high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity & inflammation; this process goes through your entire body & usually starts in the teenage. Over time the build-up of plaque narrows the arteries & completely blocks them, which leads to heart attack or stroke.
The general symptom of a heart attack is chest pain (angina) or discomfort that is unrelieved by rest & radiates through the shoulder, arms, neck or jaw. Other symptoms include lightheadedness, dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, sweating, or nausea.
A heart attack occurs when one or a few of the coronary arteries become blocked. If left untreated, the heart muscle begins to die because it doesn’t get enough oxygen. Whereas, in cardiac arrest, your heart stops beating completely. Both are emergency situations; without timely intervention, it would eventually lead to death.
Why do young Indians have a higher risk of having a heart attack?
Heart attacks among Indians in their 20s and 30s have increased during the last decade.
What is the main reason behind most heart attacks?
Eating Junk Foods, including fatty, oily, salty, sugary foods which leads to the build-up of bad cholesterol, hypertension. Lack of exercise & Lack of sleep can trigger stress, obesity, diabetes, which puts you at risk of heart disease.
India is the capital of diabetes in the world and it is 3 times more vulnerable to heart disease. Elevated Blood sugar increases the chances of blood clots & inflames the artery walls which can lead to heart attacks.
Hypertension puts extra strain on your heart and arteries. It makes your heart work harder and leads to a build-up of cholesterol and plaque in your arteries which increases the risk of a heart attack. Monitor & manage your blood pressure before it causes permanent damage.
Smoking is a major cause of heart attacks in young people. It affects your arteries by causing plaque build-up and cuts down the oxygen that blood carries.
Stress affects each & everyone but long-term stress can harm your health.
Stress can directly & indirectly lead to many health problems, such as blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, heart disease, stroke, etc.
There are certain risk factors on which you have no control -
Age – As you get older, your risk of heart disease rises. Men above 45 & women above 55 are at a greater risk for heart attack.
Sex – Both men and women suffer a heart attack but women are more likely to die from one than men. After a woman goes through menopause, the risk of heart attack and stroke greatly increases.
Race or ethnicity – People of the same ethnic group or race can have environmental influences that predispose them to cardiovascular diseases. South Asian people have a greater risk of suffering heart attack & stroke.
Family history – Genetic heart conditions are passed from generation to generation. Family history of coronary heart disease increases your chances of heart attack & stroke. Many heart diseases can be inherited, including coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy & high cholesterol levels.
Heart attack & stroke can be prevented or managed by eating healthy, exercising, quitting tobacco use, monitoring diabetes & blood pressure levels.
Control your blood pressure – Maintaining healthy blood pressure is crucial in preventing cardiovascular diseases. Monitor & manage your blood pressure before it causes permanent damage. Follow some expert tips to keep your blood pressure in control.
Manage diabetes - Diabetes can lead to severe health problems, it is necessary to keep a check on your blood glucose levels.
Monitoring blood sugar levels daily is the most important thing you can do to manage diabetes. Manage your Diabetes by self-monitoring it using a blood glucose monitor.
Stay at a healthy weight – Obesity or being overweight impacts your overall health & contributes to a number of diseases, including coronary artery disease and stroke. The risk of heart attack is 3 times greater for an overweight person than a person who has a healthy weight. Keep a tab on your weight levels with our digital weighing scale & stay at a healthy weight.
Stop Smoking – When you quit smoking, your heart rate & blood pressure go down. In a few weeks, your blood circulation gets better and also after 24 hours of quitting, your risk of heart attack decreases.
Exercise – Getting regular exercise is one of the best things that can help prevent heart attack and stroke.
Exercising is very beneficial for your health as it promotes weight loss, helps reduce blood pressure & cholesterol levels.
How aspirin works in a heart attack –
Aspirin helps prevent heart attacks by inhibiting the platelets. When you take aspirin during a heart attack, it helps by slowing & decreasing the size of blood clots. It’s an effective blood thinner that helps lessen the damage but you must call for emergency medical help.
What’s the bottom line?
Living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent heart attack and stroke. Monitoring of heart rate, blood pressure, diabetes & weight levels is crucial in terms of prevention & managing diseases. So now that you know how to prevent heart attack, follow a healthy lifestyle & take all the preventive measures.