Heart attacks happen when the blood flow to any section of the heart gets blocked, therefore not allowing the heart to receive oxygen. If this flow isn’t restored fast, the part of the heart that is being blocked will begin to die. Heart attack damage can be mild or severe and the damage received depends upon how long the blood supply was cut off for. They can be fatal — every year 500,000 people in the United States alone will die because of a heart attack.
The good news is that there are steps you can take today to reduce the likelihood that you will ever have to experience what a heart attack feels like. Let’s take a look at the lifestyle changes & medication you can make that’ll make you healthier overall but will help you to stave off heart attacks as well.
When you smoke cigarettes, the lining of your arteries can become damaged. This can lead to the build-up of atheroma which will ultimately narrow your arteries, increasing the chances of you having a heart attack or a stroke. People who smoke are three times as likely to have heart disease.
Change Your Diet
Perhaps one of the easier lifestyle changes you can make is to help lower your risk of heart attacks is to switch up how you eat. The foods that you choose to fuel yourself with can affect your cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight, all risk factors for heart attacks. When overhauling your diet, you’re going to want to choose foods that are rich in nutrients and low in calories. You should consider making the bulk of your diet consist of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts. Consider reducing the amount of salt, red meat, and sweets that you eat. Of course, that’s not to say you can’t have a slice of cake on your birthday, but moderation is key.
You are staying active pairs very well with a highly nutritious diet. Not only can regularly exercising help you to lose weight (which can in and of itself lower your heart disease risk), it’ll help to slow aging, improve your sleep and even reduce your overall stress levels. Regular physical activity can also prevent heart disease in the first place, lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels. Research has proven that at least 150 minutes of exercise per week is required to reap these benefits. But, if you’re not used to physical activity, start small. Remember, some training is better than none.
Find a Healthy Weight
The two previous lifestyle changes – choosing a healthier diet and increasing your activity – can help you to achieve a healthy weight. Being obese will increase the likelihood that you’ll have high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and diabetes. These three conditions will increase your risk of getting cardiovascular disease and will make you more apt to have heart attacks. You can use calculators online to find your Body Mass Index, but we suggest consulting your doctor for advice. Losing weight will also help you to shrink your waistline. Men who have waistlines of 37” or less and women with 35” or less are less likely to have heart attacks.