Everybody has heard of heart attacks, but many people do not realize that they can be at serious risk of a heart attack or other life-threatening heart conditions. By understanding what it is and what the risk factors are, you can improve your lifestyle and decrease the chance of suffering a heart attack. If you are ever concerned about any chest pain, see your doctor immediately.
What is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack is when a blockage of blood vessels cuts off blood supply to an area of the heart. The cause of this blockage is a process that occurs over many years known as ‘atherosclerosis.’ Atherosclerosis begins with cholesterol in the blood becoming lodged in the vessel walls.
There are many factors that influence the progress of this atherosclerosis. This causes the vessel wall to swell up, resulting in a smaller pipe for blood to flow through. If this narrowing is severe enough, the entire blood vessel can become blocked, which is what causes a heart attack. As the heart muscle does not receive enough oxygen via the blood, it begins to die, which can have serious and permanent consequences.
How to Prevent a Heart Attack
So, what can we do to prevent a heart attack?
1. Lower Your Cholesterol Level
The process of atherosclerosis is permanent, but we can prevent the process from starting by lowering the cholesterol in our diet.
Fried foods, processed meats, egg yolks, and even red meats all contain cholesterol, which will contribute to the narrowing of your arteries. By reducing the amount of cholesterol that you eat, you are stopping this process from occurring and reducing the risk of a future heart attack.
2. Quite Smoking
Another risk factor for heart attacks and many other diseases is smoking. By smoking, you speed up the process of atherosclerosis, and so will have a heart attack sooner.
Smoking also decreases the amount of oxygen that is absorbed from your lungs to your blood, meaning that it is more likely for your heart not to have enough. This means that when you exercise, your heart is going to be under more stress, and it is much more likely for damage to occur.
Quitting smoking not only reduces your risk of a heart attack but also of many other conditions such as lung disease and many cancers.
3. Watch Your Weight
Finally, one very important risk factor is obesity. Obesity has a large impact on high blood pressure, which makes the process of atherosclerosis much more likely to happen.
Additionally, obesity puts a higher load on the heart, which forces it to change shape and puts it under much more stress. It also makes your heart more vulnerable to a heart attack. By losing weight, you significantly decrease your risk of heart attack, and like smoking, the risk of many other diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Many lifestyle choices can be risk factors for heart attacks, but it is possible to make better choices and so reduce your risk.
While it may seem like a lot of work to make these changes, the health benefits are significant and you manage your risk of both a heart attack and many other conditions. We all like to imagine a happy and healthy future, and by making the above changes, you can live your best life going forward.