Prevent A Heart Attack

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There are five things you can do today to prevent a heart attack in the future: control your blood pressure, check your cholesterol level, watch out for diabetes, start exercising and quit smoking.

Physiology of a heart attack

A heart attack happens when an artery supplying blood to the heart becomes obstructed, either because of a long-standing and progressive narrowing of the artery or a sudden formation of a blood clot. When the obstruction occurs, the heart gets deprived of its oxygen supply and, in a way, becomes asphyxiated. This translates to a heart attack.

Control your blood pressure

Your high blood pressure accelerates the thickening of blood vessels throughout the body, including the arteries of the heart. The process is described in greater detail in the article on preventing a stroke.

An elevated blood pressure that goes unchecked for several years will cause kidney failure, heart failure and stroke. The best way to prevent these complications is to maintain a desirable blood pressure (not more than 140/90 for non-diabetics and not more than 130/80 for diabetics).

Check your cholesterol level

A high cholesterol level contributes to the progressive narrowing of arteries in the body. When left untreated for several years, hypercholesterolemia, the medical term for high cholesterol level, will eventually cause a heart attack or stroke.

If you have not done so in the past five years, check your blood cholesterol. If it is elevated, see your physician for proper advice on how to lower your cholesterol.

Watch out for diabetes

A persistently elevated blood sugar speeds up the thickening and narrowing of blood vessels in the body. The process becomes specially pronounced when an elevated sugar is combined with a high blood pressure.

Uncontrolled diabetes will cause kidney failure (sometimes requiring dialysis), peripheral arterial disease (may lead to leg amputation), stroke and heart attack. Watch out for the symptoms of diabetes. If you have the symptoms, get a fasting blood sugar determination. If you have diabetes, consult your doctor for proper blood sugar control.

Start exercising

The benefits of exercise for the heart is described in the article “Prevent A Heart Attack With Exercise.”

Thirty minutes of brisk walking around your neighborhood five times each week is a desirable and achievable goal. The strategy for achieving this is described in the same article. Check with your doctor before you start the regimen.

Quit smoking

Easy to say but more difficult to do, unless you are totally resolved to quit. The hazards of smoking might motivate you to complete your resolve to quit. Besides, did you know that there is no proven benefit to cigarette smoking? Smoking simply is a bad deal.

Moving forward

One Filipino who had a heart bypass said that it is really easy to prevent a heart attack. It's just that he didn't know how to do it when he was younger. After reading this article, we are now well equipped with the knowledge on what we can do today to prevent a heart attack in the future.

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