How to Reduce the Risk of Heart Attacks

Heart Attack - The Sudden, Often Unexpected Killer

Heart attack - that happens to old people right? That's the reaction or perception most people have about heart attacks. Unfortunately, more and more young people are dying of heart attacks, and so if you think only old people are at risk, you couldn't be more wrong. I've known a couple of friends personally who've had heart attacks in their late 20s and early 30s. It was shocking and frightening to know that people so young could get heart attacks too. It was an eye opener for me. Like so many others, I believed heart attacks could happen only to the old. Now, though, I know better. Having friends go through this, one is shaken out of one's complacence to learn more about the various risk factors for heart attack and make necessary changes to one's own life to reduce the risks. Turns out that the first and most important step you can take to lower your risk of getting a heart attack is to make lifestyle modifications. So, what are these "lifestyle modifications?" Let us discuss some of them.

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Lifestyle Modifications - Heart Attack Prevention Steps

Say no to smoking: If you are a smoker, quit!! Can't put it more bluntly than that. Nicotine is a true nemesis of the heart. It makes the heart work harder, can lead to higher amounts of fatty deposition in the arteries and consequent narrowing of the blood vessels. Second-hand smoking is just as bad, so try to avoid places where you can be exposed to secondhand smoke. One of my friends, who suffered a heart attack, was a smoker (he was just 28), he starting smoking when he was 16, so I'd definitely take this warning seriously, so should you!! He had no other risk factors I know of and it probably was the smoking that was to blame. Either ways, would you really want to risk it? It is never too late to quit smoking!!

Watch your diet: Watch what you eat. You are what you eat, and if you put junk in your body, you can't expect your heart to work like a well-oiled machine. Eating a heart-healthy diet is the key. This means you eat a diet that is low in saturated fats and cholesterol and high in fruits, whole grains and veggies and healthy oils such as fish oil that you can get by eating oily fish such as tuna, salmon, herring, mackerel. Eating such a diet would help lower your cholesterol levels, blood pressure and weight, all of which are risk factors for heart attack. By adhering to a heart-healthy diet you can decrease your chance of getting a heart attack quite significantly.

Get up and get moving: Yes, exercise is key. Strive to get at least 30 minutes of an aerobic workout every day. You can also walk briskly or do other exercises that require you to be active continuously for a period of time.

Shed those excess pounds: If you are overweight or obese, you really need to lose some pounds. Obesity is another risk factor for heart attacks and so it pays to shed those excess pounds. Eat lower calories than you usually do. Aim for a body-mass index (BMI) of less than 25. A BMI of 25 or greater increases your risk of heart attack. To know your BMI, just refer to the BMI chart given below. A BMI of less than 18.5 is considered underweight, a BMI of between 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal and acceptable, a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overwight, whereas a BMI value over 30 is considered obese.

Body Mass Index (BMI) Table For BMI Values Till 35

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
BMI
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
Height
Body Weight (pounds)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(inches)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
58
91
96
100
105
110
115
119
124
129
134
138
143
148
153
158
162
167
59
94
99
104
109
114
119
124
128
133
138
143
148
153
158
163
168
173
60
97
102
107
112
118
123
128
133
138
143
148
153
158
163
168
174
179
61
100
106
111
116
122
127
132
137
143
148
153
158
164
169
174
180
185
62
104
109
115
120
126
131
136
142
147
153
158
164
169
175
180
186
191
63
107
113
118
124
130
135
141
146
152
158
163
169
175
180
186
191
197
64
110
116
122
128
134
140
145
151
157
163
169
174
180
186
192
197
204
65
114
120
126
132
138
144
150
156
162
168
174
180
186
192
198
204
210
66
118
124
130
136
142
148
155
161
167
173
179
186
192
198
204
210
216
67
121
127
134
140
146
153
159
166
172
178
185
191
198
204
211
217
223
68
125
131
138
144
151
158
164
171
177
184
190
197
203
210
216
223
230
69
128
135
142
149
155
162
169
176
182
189
196
203
209
216
223
230
236
70
132
139
146
153
160
167
174
181
188
195
202
209
216
222
229
236
243
71
136
143
150
157
165
172
179
186
193
200
208
215
222
229
236
243
250
72
140
147
154
162
169
177
184
191
199
206
213
221
228
235
242
250
258
73
144
151
159
166
174
182
189
197
204
212
219
227
235
242
250
257
265
74
148
155
163
171
179
186
194
202
210
218
225
233
241
249
256
264
272
75
152
160
168
176
184
192
200
208
216
224
232
240
248
256
264
272
279
76
156
164
172
180
189
197
205
213
221
230
238
246
254
263
271
279
287
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Diabetes: If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels and keep it under check.

Don't Skip Your Medications: If your doctor has prescribed you medications for your heart/blood pressure, take them regularly and without fail. Skipping them could prove costly

Drink Moderately: Heavy drinkers are at an increased risk for suffering from heart attacks. If you do drink, then drink so moderately. Consult your doctor on what that "moderate" amount can be for your specific situation. Generally, this would mean about one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

Get Screened Regularly: Get your cholesterol and lipid levels checked and your blood pressure monitored regularly.

Plan for an Emergency: Discuss an action plan with your family if you were to have a heart attack. Each passing second could mean the difference between life and death, so have a plan of action ready in case you were to have an attack. Educate your family members about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack so they can identify them and call 911 without undue delay.

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3 comments

Sunnyglitter profile image

Sunnyglitter 6 years ago from Cyberspace

I almost had a heart attack a few years ago (I'm in my 20s), and had no clue what was going on. I thought it only happened to old people. I exercised and followed a healthy diet, but I was under an insane amount of stress (this is what they say the cause was). Thanks for pointing out that heart attacks can happen at any age.


Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 6 years ago Author

Thanks SG for stopping by and sharing your story. You learn new things every day. I didn't know either - always thought heart attacks happen to old folks. I know better now. Always better to stay healthy by exercising and avoiding habits such as smoking and other risk factors!! The 'stress' factor is new to me - thanks for pointing that out!! Thanks again for stopping by :)


heartandkisses profile image

heartandkisses 5 years ago

This is a super helpful article for those health conscious people. Like it so much! Two thumbs up. :)

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