Simple Ways to Avoid a Heart Attack, According to Doctors

How to Avoid a Heart Attack

As a society, we are especially concerned about our outward health. By that, we mean the way our bodies look to others, the tone of our muscles, the quality of our skin and the whiteness of our teeth. But how often do we stop and think about the most important muscle of all - the heart!

The heart is undoubtedly the most vital organ in our body. A poorly functioning heart will cause huge problems throughout the entire body - and can even lead to an early grave.

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of deaths globally. And of the recorded premature deaths (under the age of 70), more than a third are caused due to heart problems.

For this reason, it is important that you book in with the best Cardiologist in Singapore to help you avoid the development of heart conditions and lead a healthier, happier life.

What is a heart attack?

How to Avoid a Heart Attack

A heart attack is a serious symptom of an underlying condition. The heart muscle is supplied by oxygen-rich blood via the coronary arteries. When these arteries become blocked, the flow of this blood decreases and the muscle can’t get enough oxygen. Consequently, the heart muscle begins to die - and unless immediate action is taken to remove the blockage - it will stop altogether.

A heart attack is an emergency, and the quicker you act, the better your outcome will be. But what are the signs of a heart attack and what should you do if you think you’re experiencing one?

The signs and symptoms of a heart attack are:
  • Pressure or a crushing sensation on the chest
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea
  • A pain in the left arm
  • Fainting / lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath

If you suspect you might be having a heart attack, call for an ambulance immediately.

If you would like to take proactive steps to avoid a heart attack, you should look for the best Cardiologist in Singapore.

How do you prevent a heart attack?

How to Avoid a Heart Attack

Heart attacks are caused by an underlying cardiovascular disease. Fat, calcium, and inflammatory cells build up within the arteries to create plaques which can rupture and lead to a sudden blockage called a heart attack. To avoid this, you must take care of your heart and be aware of any risk factors that apply to you.

Risk factors that can increase your chances of having a heart attack include:
  • Age. Men over the age of 45 and women over the age of 55 are more likely to have a heart attack than younger people.
  • Smoking. Tobacco products thicken the blood, increasing the likelihood of clotting and clogging of the arteries.
  • High blood pressure. The arteries that lead to your heart can become damaged over time due to high blood pressure.
  • High blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels. The arteries can narrow if you have a high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or high triglyceride levels - increasing the likelihood of blockages forming and reduced blood flow.
  • Obesity. Obesity is linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and high triglyceride levels, all of which can cause a heart attack.
  • Diabetes. When you don’t produce sufficient amounts of insulin, your body’s sugar levels rise. This can increase the risk of a heart attack.
  • Family history of heart attacks. Your risk of heart attack is increased if your siblings, parents or grandparents had early heart attacks before the age of 55 (males) or 65 (females).
  • Illicit drug use. Stimulating drugs like cocaine or amphetamines can trigger a spasm within your coronary arteries, leading to heart attack.
  • An autoimmune condition. Living with a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus can heighten your risk of experiencing a heart attack.

If you have any of the risk factors detailed above, you should book an appointment to see the best cardiologist to ensure your heart is in good condition.

Prevention is better than cure

When it comes to your heart, prevention is better than cure. Cardiological medical interventions can be invasive and expensive. Maintaining good heart health and checking up on your heart before any problems exist is extremely wise.

As well as seeing a cardiologist for a regular checkup, you can take measures at home to reduce your risk of heart attack. Most of these measures involve your diet.

You can:
  • Exercise. The American Heart Association suggests getting in at least 75 minutes of moderately intense exercise each week to to keep the heart healthy
  • Reduce salt. Sodium (salt) increases blood pressure - and as we discussed, high blood pressure can increase the risk of a heart attack. The American Heart Association recommends we have 2,300mg of sodium per day as a maximum. But the average adult consumes 3,400mg per day. And people who eat fast food have 50% more than the recommended daily intake of salt. The solution is to remain mindful of how much salt you put on your food and to cut down the amount of fast food you eat.
  • Eat healthy fats. Healthy fats found in foods like avocados, nuts and fish can help reduce inflammation in the body, keeping the heart healthy.
  • Avoid processed foods. They tend to contain higher concentrations of sugar and salt than other foods.
  • Visit your doctor regularly to check your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol
  • Don’t smoke!
  • Watch out for sugar. Sugar can have many names. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2014 found that participants who had high sugar diets were twice as likely to experience a fatal heart disease than those who ate less sugar.

The Bottom Line

You have a substantial amount of control over your heart’s health, and as long as you keep making healthy lifestyle choices, you minimize the risk of developing heart disease and having a heart attack. It’s important to remember that prevention is better than cure, and that even if you feel healthy, you book a heart check-up regularly.

Get a checkup

Even if you do not have any symptoms of poor heart health, or any family history of heart disease, getting a cardiology checkup is a great idea. A cardiologist can take a detailed medical history and run a number of important tests to determine if there are any early warning signs of a heart condition. Identifying heart conditions early means you will have more treatment options and are less likely to need invasive surgery.

Don’t wait to have a heart attack before seeing a Cardiologist. Get in touch with us today and book an appointment.

Dr Rohit Khurana
MA (Oxon), BM BCh (Oxon), PhD (Lond), FRCP (UK), FESC (Europe), FACC (USA)
Dr Khurana is a senior consultant cardiologist, with a specialist interest in coronary artery disease and intervention. Dr Khurana studied medicine at Oxford University, UK and awarded his PhD in vascular biology from the University of London, UK. His sub-specialty training was performed in Vancouver, Canada.

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