Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, affecting millions of people every year. Fortunately, heart disease is not inevitable. You might not be able to change every risk factor, such as your age, gender, or family history, but you can take measures to reduce your risk of suffering from heart disease. In this article, we’ll answer some of patients’ most common questions: How to protect your heart from a heart attack? How quickly does cholesterol levels change? Is daily activity effective in preventing heart diseases?
Above all, we urge you to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you already have a history of heart disease. Read below to learn how to stop a heart attack and what lifestyle changes you can implement today to reduce and prevent the chances of heart disease.
How to Stop a Heart Attack: Six Changes You Can Implement Today
Heart attack awareness is important, especially in an age where you may be overworked, stressed out, and/or anxious. Some common lifestyle habits of the 21st century may be harmful, so the first step to raising heart attack awareness is discussing what steps you can take to prevent diseases from occurring in the first place. Below, you will find some of the top tips that can help you protect your heart from heart disease:
Quit Smoking and Tobacco Use
If you’re asking yourself how to stop a heart attack, you should first catch it in its tracks and quit any tobacco consumption. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking and tobacco use are one of the leading causes of heart diseases globally.
Even if you don’t smoke, you should ensure that you avoid harmful second-hand smoke. The dangerous chemicals in tobacco can cause damage to the blood vessels and the heart. It’s proven that cigarette smoke reduces the oxygen levels in the blood, increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. Since the heart needs to work hard to supply oxygen to the brain, you may experience heightened blood pressure if you ingest smoke.
The good news is that you can greatly reduce your chances of heart disease just one day after quitting tobacco. Imagine how much your health can improve after an entire year of quitting smoking or tobacco use.
Be Active Every Day
Getting substantial daily activity, whether you’re visiting the gym or going for a 30-minute walk, can greatly reduce your chances of developing heart disease. According to health experts, you should aim for around 30 to 60 minutes of daily activity.
Physical activity does not only help you maintain a healthy weight, but can also boost your mental clarity and focus. Moreover, you’ll benefit from daily activity in many ways and your chances of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes will also be reduced.
Shorter bouts of regular daily activity can also offer outstanding benefits for the heart. If you are a beginner at working out, starting with just five minutes a day can be helpful. You can also pick up new hobbies that will keep you active, such as gardening and walking your dog.
Eat Heart-Healthy Foods
Are you still thinking about the best ways on how to stop a heart attack? Then, you should be mindful of the foods that you put into your body and you should try consuming plenty of nutrient-dense ingredients and foods that are full of vitamins and minerals. Not only does a healthy diet help protect your heart, but it can also improve cholesterol, blood pressure and decrease the chances of type 2 diabetes. Aim to include plenty of the following foods into your diet:
- Whole grains
- Low-fat and fat-free dairy
- Fish and lean meats
- Fruits and vegetables
- Healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil
According to experts, eating a balanced Mediterranean diet is excellent for warding off heart disease. On the flip side, health experts recommend limiting your intake of sugar, salt, alcohol, processed carbohydrates, junk food, and trans and saturated fats.
Get Enough Quality Sleep
According to Harvard Healthy Sleep, individuals who do not get quality sleep are at greater risk of suffering from diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure, and depression. Typically, the standard adult will require a minimum of seven hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. In order to keep heart diseases at bay, prioritize your sleep by having a regular night-time routine and turning off all electronic devices before bed.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Every day stress can wreak havoc on your health. Some people cope with stress in unhealthy ways like smoking, drinking alcohol, and overeating junk food.
Unfortunately, you can’t eliminate stress from daily life as it may be inevitable to come across stressful situations in your personal and professional life. However, there are many alternatives and healthier ways to manage your feelings like implementing daily activity, meditation, journaling, and doing breathing exercises.
Visit Your Doctor Regularly
High cholesterol and hypertension can cause immense damage to your blood vessels and heart. The first step to avoiding heart disease is to go to your doctor’s office regularly for health screenings. This way, your doctor will be able to identify any abnormalities before they have manifested into a more severe condition.
In addition, regular screenings at a preventative primary care clinic will help you know whether you need to take action. The health professionals at TopLine MD Alliance affiliated preventative clinics will check your blood pressure and likely screen you once per year if you are between 18 and 38. Individuals over 40 years old will also need to do a blood pressure test every year.
Your doctor should also check your cholesterol levels. Typically, cholesterol screening begins at the age of 20, although some experts recommend testing earlier. In addition, you may need to visit a preventative clinic more often if you have a family history of heart disease.
This brings us to the question: How quickly does cholesterol levels change? In short, your cholesterol will drop over time, but there is no set period in which your cholesterol levels will drop. Usually, you might notice a change in LDL with cholesterol-lowering medication within six to eight weeks.
Heart Attack Awareness: The Symptoms
A myocardial infarction, or a heart attack, happens when the heart doesn’t receive the adequate blood supply required for properly function. The more you leave the condition untreated, the greater the damage to your heart muscle can be. The leading cause of a heart attack is coronary artery disease or CAD. Below, find some of the most common symptoms of a heart attack:
- Pain or discomfort in one or both shoulders or arms
- Pain or discomfort in the chest (it can resemble fullness, squeezing, pressure, and pain)
- Pain or discomfort in the back, neck, or jaw
- Feeling light-headed, weak, or faint (you may also experience a cold sweat)
- Shortness of breath
Individuals can also experience unexplained and unusual fatigue and nausea in other cases. Some patients dealing with a heart attack can also vomit suddenly. Typically, these symptoms are more common among women than men.
How Can I Recover from Heart Disease?
Patients who experience a heart attack may have a damaged heart. Due to this, the heart’s normal rhythm and ability to produce blood for the rest of the body may be affected. Some of these individuals may also be at risk of kidney disorders, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.
Fortunately, you can take action to recover after heart disease. For example, some patients may need to limit physical activity (including sexual activity and work), or implement specific lifestyle changes such as eating healthier, quitting alcohol and tobacco use, and managing stress more effectively. In many cases, cardiac rehabilitation may also be required. Your trained primary care doctor can and should guide your post-heart attack recovery plan.
Book an Appointment with a Corus Advantage Affiliated Provider Today
Corus Advantage is here to help get your life back on track. Prioritize your heart health and find an affiliated doctor today.