3 Ways You Can Lower Your Risk for a Heart Attack
One in every four deaths in the United States is caused by heart disease, making it the number one cause of death for both men and women. With these numbers, it’s safe to say that heart disease or a heart attack is fatal conditions that people should not take for granted.
Heart disease comes in various risk factors, and while some of them are unmodifiable, one’s risk for a heart attack can be lowered through several prevention measures.
Understanding its risk factors
Before applying the ways on how you can prevent the possibility of a heart attack, it’s best to first understand its risk factors, which are differentiated in three categories: those that can’t be changed, those that can be modified, and other contributing factors.
Unmodifiable risk factors are those that cannot be changed, such as one’s age, gender, and race. Statistics show that the majority of fatalities of coronary heart disease are those aged 65 or older. When it comes to gender, men are found to be more at risk of a heart attack than women are. Meanwhile, African-Americans, who have more severe high blood pressure conditions than Caucasians, are more at risk for heart disease.
Changing your lifestyle
However, there are other risk factors that you can still modify, treat, or control in order to prevent a heart attack.
- Quit smoking.
Tobacco smoke puts one in a much higher risk of developing heart disease than those who don’t smoke or are not exposed to smoke. Aside from heart disease, it can also lead to other severe health conditions, such as lung cancer and other chronic lung diseases.
Quitting smoking may be difficult to most, but it is more difficult to recover from a heart attack and live with long-term heart disease.
- Keep blood pressure under control.
A normal blood pressure reading should be less than 120/80 mmHg. Anything higher than that in a long-term setting can increase your risk for a heart attack and stroke, which is the leading cause of disability in America.
To keep blood pressure on normal levels, be conscious of your salt intake. Salt retains fluids, thereby raising one’s blood pressure as blood volume increases. This puts more workload on the heart, which can aggravate one’s heart condition and risk of a heart attack. People with high blood pressure are required to consume not more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. It’s also advisable to eat fresh foods, cut back on condiments, and to try other seasonings such as basil, oregano, and the likes.
- Lower your cholesterol.
Your risk for coronary heart disease rises as your blood cholesterol does, and such levels continue to skyrocket when it is accompanied by cigarette smoking and high blood pressure.
Since a heart attack is caused by the buildup of fat in your arteries, it’s essential to reduce your intake of cholesterol, as well as saturated fat and trans fat. This can be done by modifying your diet by choosing healthier food options and paired with regular physical activity. Your doctor may also prescribe certain medications to get your cholesterol levels down.
Steering clear from other risk factors
Other risk factors of a heart attack include stress, which has been linked to having coronary heart disease. Since each of us has our own individual response to stress, it can lead people to practice poor eating habits, start smoking and consume too much alcohol. From there, a domino effect can occur, and it won’t be long until you find yourself in the hospital bed with EKG cables around you.
One is never too young to worry about the possibility of a heart attack. Although the number of heart attack patients mostly fall on older adults, a heart attack can occur to anyone at any age. This should encourage one to practice prevention measures early in life.