How To Prevent A Heart Attack With Scientific Facts

8 min read
Feb 12, 2024
How To Prevent A Heart Attack With Scientific Facts

Myocardial infarction, the medical term for a heart attack, is the result of a blood clot that prevents oxygen and blood from reaching the heart. The injured heart tissue begins to run out of oxygen and dies if this blood flow is not promptly restored. Heart attacks, sadly, can be lethal if appropriate medical attention is not received.(1)

Recognizing the signs of a heart attack is essential for timely intervention and treatment. Possible symptoms include dyspnea, lightheadedness, chest discomfort, and an abrupt feeling of weakness.

If you believe that you or someone close to you is having a heart attack, you must call emergency services immediately. The likelihood of recovery increases with speed of response.

After a heart attack, one can continue to lead an active life. Many folks who received timely medical attention and the appropriate care are still leading happy lives. Even though heart attacks are prevalent, you can lower your risk of having one by using a number of prevention techniques.(2, 3)

Who Is Most at Risk?

Lack of oxygen-rich blood flow to the heart is often the cause of heart attacks. Coronary artery disease is a heart illness that occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, which are the blood vessels that supply your heart.

Heart attacks are often brought on by this condition. With time, breathing difficulties, chest pain, or a blockage that could result in a heart attack can all be brought on by the restricted blood veins.(4)

Another kind of heart attack is known as myocardial infarction without obstructive coronary artery disease, or MINOCA. This is more common in younger people, those who were born with a female assigned birth gender, and members of specific racial and ethnic groupings, such as African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latin Americans.(5)

Other heart-related disorders can cause heart attacks that are not caused by coronary artery disease. If you have any of the following conditions, you may be more vulnerable to a heart attack:(4)

  • Small plaques: Plaque accumulation in the blood vessel walls of your arteries can cause blood clots and block blood flow.
  • Coronary artery spasms: Sometimes there is a sudden, significant tightness of the coronary artery that can obstruct blood flow.
  • Blood clots: This condition, called a coronary artery embolism, occurs when a blood clot originates elsewhere in the body and moves to the coronary artery, obstructing it.
  • Artery dissection: Periodically, a coronary artery's inner layers may rupture, causing a blood clot to form that may obstruct blood flow.

It is important to remember that if you have a family history of cardiovascular issues, your risk of heart disease and heart attacks may rise. If members of your immediate family, such as parents or siblings, have experienced cardiac issues, there's a chance that you will as well.

For instance, there's a forty percent chance that you may experience cardiac problems if your siblings do. Your own risk of a heart attack can increase by 60% to 75% if your parents experienced cardiac problems at an early age.(1)

Having said that, it's critical to consider your family's history of cardiac disease. This can alert you to possible heart problems down the road and provide you with the chance to pursue heart-healthy lifestyle choices to reduce your risk of disease.

How To Reduce Risk

You have multiple options for tracking and reducing your chance of having a heart attack. These include scheduling routine examinations and screenings, modifying some aspects of your lifestyle, and occasionally even asking your doctor about complementary medical practices.

Testing and Screenings

To find out about your general health state, it's crucial to schedule yearly or routine physical examinations with your healthcare professional.

Your healthcare practitioner will probably check on the following heart attack-related factors during these visits:(6)

  • Blood pressure : Although it doesn't usually cause symptoms, high Blood pressure might raise the risk of having a heart attack. Have your Blood pressure checked during your regular appointment if it's too high or too low, and discuss the results and any recommended treatments with your doctor.
  • Cholesterol levels: Your cholesterol levels are determined using a fasting lipoprotein profile test. Providers recommend doing this test once every four to six years for people who are at normal risk of having a heart attack. However, your doctor may suggest more frequent exams if you have a higher risk of heart disease , a heart attack, or a stroke.
  • Blood glucose (sugar): The comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), a common blood test, is usually ordered by your healthcare physician to measure your blood glucose, or the quantity of sugar in your blood. Overglycemia could be a sign of diabetes, which increases the risk of a heart attack.

One way to determine your risk of a heart attack is to have your blood sugar levels examined annually or, if you have diabetes, to monitor your glucose levels.

Lifestyle Changes

Thankfully, there are a number of lifestyle modifications you can do to lower your chance of having a heart attack and support you in leading a long, healthy life. Among these preventative techniques are:(7)

  • Quitting smoking: One of the best methods to avoid a heart attack is to stop smoking, if you or someone you love smokes. Breaking a long-term tobacco habit is not easy. Speak with your doctor if you're interested in stopping, and look for further assistance by visiting other smoking cessation websites.
  • Eating a balanced diet: One effective strategy to reduce your risk of a heart attack is through food. Reduce your intake of salt, added sugars, and saturated fats and increase your intake of nutrient-dense foods including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Maintaining heart health requires maintaining balance.
  • Keeping an eye on cholesterol: Your chance of having a heart attack may increase if your cholesterol is high. Maintaining an active lifestyle and consuming fewer saturated fats can help keep cholesterol levels stable. Consult your healthcare practitioner about cholesterol-lowering drugs if diet and exercise aren't bringing your cholesterol down.
  • Controlling blood pressure: Blood pressure that is too high raises the risk of heart attack and stroke. Reducing your intake of salt, using prescription drugs for hypertension, and engaging in regular exercise can all help control your blood pressure.
  • Get moving: Engaging in regular exercise or physical activity is one approach to maintain heart health. It is recommended by experts to engage in moderate exercise for at least 150 minutes every week. It's acceptable to start out slowly; every bit of exercise strengthens and benefits the heart.
  • Maintaining a weight that is right for you: Having too much body fat around your abdomen might make you weigh more and put you at higher risk of heart disease. You can lower your risk of heart problems while achieving and maintaining a healthy weight with a balanced diet and frequent exercise .
  • Managing diabetes: To control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of a heart attack, people with diabetes must maintain a well-managed lifestyle that includes physical activity and a balanced diet. Regular checkups are also essential.
  • Prioritizing sleep: A good night's sleep is essential to your general well-being. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night to lower your risk of heart disease and enhance the quality of your sleep.
  • Reducing stress: Long-term, chronic stress is a major contributing factor to many diseases, including heart attacks. Reduce tension and discover appropriate outlets for your emotions to help you feel less stressed. Yoga, writing in a notebook, meditation, going on nature walks, and spending time with your loved ones are a few examples of these techniques.
  • Limiting alcohol use: Drinking too much alcohol can cause a number of health problems, such as high blood pressure and blood sugar, which can both raise your risk of heart disease . If you drink, keep your consumption to no more than one drink for female birth assignments or two drinks for male birth assignments per day.

Complementary Methods

Plants such as ginseng and ginkgo biloba have been shown in some trials to help treat cardiac issues and lower the risk of heart attacks. Although there isn't enough data to determine if these supplemental treatments are safe and beneficial, some preliminary findings point to their potential efficacy.

Speak with your provider about their suggestions if you're interested in incorporating complementary or alternative therapies with medically recommended preventive measures.(8)

When to Contact a Healthcare Provider

Speak candidly with your healthcare practitioner about any concerns you may have about your risk of a heart attack, such as an underlying medical condition, a family history of heart issues, or any factors that may make you more vulnerable to one.

Your healthcare professional is the most qualified to provide you with individualized health advice since they take into account your unique needs and medical history. Keep in mind that every person's physique and health are different, so what suits others may not be appropriate for you.

You may be sure that any actions you take to lower your risk of having a heart attack are safe and appropriate for your unique health profile by speaking with your healthcare professional.

Additionally, seeking professional guidance is crucial to navigating major changes safely and successfully, such as starting a new diet or exercise program or managing medical issues like high blood pressure or cholesterol.

A Brief Recap 

When there is an obstruction in the bloodstream that keeps your heart from getting enough oxygen-rich blood to operate, heart attacks can occur. Even though heart attacks happen frequently, there are steps you may do to lower your risk or avoid having one.

These preventive methods include giving up smoking, managing your blood pressure and blood sugar, maintaining a healthy diet, getting adequate exercise each week, and reducing stress.

It's essential to discuss your concerns and potential heart attack risks with your healthcare provider if you're worried about your heart health or want to learn how to reduce your risk of developing heart issues.