How to Prevent a Heart Attack
Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. It doesn’t get much more terrifying than that for sheer casualties of a preventable disease. SignatureMD doctors know that for those patients over 65 years of age, the risk is even greater. The fatality statistics show that eight out of ten people who die of heart disease are 65 or older. The chances of survival from a cardiac arrest can be assisted by the use of an automatic defibrillator. Going to www.aedleader.com will provide more information about their significance.
SignatureMD is at the forefront of prevention and diagnostics that empower you to reverse the odds and live a healthy and disease free life.
Ready to be heart smart? Let’s go:
1. KNOWLEDGE OF SYMPTOMS
You must know the warning signs and seek treatment right away.
Some typical symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Heartburn feeling
- Chest pain (angina)
- Arm and shoulder pains
- Shortness of breath
- Palpitations (skipped beats or a racing or pounding heart)
- Leg swelling
- Bluish skin color (cyanosis)
- A prolonged, unexplained cough
- Coughing up blood
- Persistent fatigue or feeling unwell
- Passing out
The pain of a heart attack may feel like really bad heartburn. And the symptoms of a second heart attack may not be the same as those for the first. If you or someone close to you has already had a heart attack, call 911 immediately; don’t hesitate at the first sign of possible trouble.
2. COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR DOCTOR
You must insist on heart monitoring exams – especially if you are over 40 and may be on hormone replacement therapy, rosiglitazone (for diabetes), and COX-2 inhibitors (for controlling arthritis pain) are all examples of medications that may increase the risk of heart attack. Review all of your medications with your SignatureMD doctor and ask if there are less risky alternatives. Make sure to communicate with your doctor regarding any questions or concerns you might have. Someone else that you should consult is the person at your workplace, who is first aid trained. This way, if you do suffer from any symptoms of a heart attack, as they are fully trained in First Aid & CPR (and as they say in Quebec, Secourisme et RCR, they will at least know how to deal with this situation. It is best to inform them, rather than dealing with this on your own.
3. BODY MAINTENANCE 101
You must control your high blood pressure through diet and exercise. This is THE major risk factor for heart attack. If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with prehypertension (120/80 mm Hg to 139/89 mm Hg) or hypertension (140/90 mm Hg or higher), blood pressure should be treated with the appropriate medications. An inexpensive manual cuff (starting at about $12 at your local drugstore) is a great way to monitor blood pressure at home.
4. DIET DIET DIET
What you eat matters. When you look at a cheeseburger, imagine that greasy feeling on your hands and in your mouth actually goes somewhere that cannot be excreted. Your veins are a repository of animal fat; think about that when you make your dinner choices. Another major risk factor for heart attack is a high bloodstream level of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. Ideally, total cholesterol should be no more than 200 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter), and no more than five times the level of HDL or “good” cholesterol; LDL levels ideally should be below 70 mg/dL. Make sure cholesterol levels are checked regularly and treated if necessary. Following a low-fat diet and exercising regularly may help, but it might not be enough. If cholesterol levels don’t respond to lifestyle changes, medication might be necessary.
The American Heart Association offers specific dietary guidelines for reducing the risk of heart attack. Eat a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry, lean meats, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. We urge everyone to reduce animal products in their diet dramatically. Limit daily intake of fat (total fat between 25 and 35 percent of daily calories, saturated fat less than 7 percent, and trans fat less than 1 percent), cholesterol (less than 200 milligrams per day if LDL levels are high, less than 300 milligrams per day if they aren’t), and sodium (less than 1,500 milligrams per day for high blood pressure, less than 2,300 milligrams per day otherwise). And all adults should each try to consume 30 grams of dietary fiber every day.
5. CHRONIC DISEASES AFFECT THE HEART
All tied to diet and exercise, diabetes (Type 2) comes on from sedentary lifestyle and bad food choices. Three out of four people with diabetes will eventually die of some type of heart or blood vessel disease. Controlling your blood sugar can reduce his risk. If your loved ones are lucky enough not to have diabetes, it’s important to avoid developing the disease by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.
6. MOVE AND GROOVE
Encourage regular exercise. This is an essential component for general cardiovascular health and is key to preventing a heart attack. The Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association recommend accumulating at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days a week on most days. Try to incorporate short bursts of activity throughout the day. Just parking farther away from the store or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can quickly add up. But before beginning any exercise program, be sure to talk to a SignatureMD doctor about any restrictions you might have.
7. DEDICATE YOUR LIFE TO YOU
Discipline, diet, exercise – think of this as an act of love to yourself. Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for heart disease. SignatureMD doctors can help you calculate body mass index, or BMI. You can calculate BMI at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. People with a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 are considered overweight; people with a BMI of 30.0 or greater are considered obese. If you or someone close to you meets either of these criteria, set a plan with your SignatureMD doctor about setting safe weight-loss goals. The best and most proven way to lose weight is by reducing calories and increasing your activity.
8. OBVIOUS DANGERS
Consume less alcohol, as heavy drinkers suffer terrible damage to their heart, brain and liver. Are you smoking? Stop now and add quality years to your life. This is one of the biggest risk factors for a heart attack. If you or your loved ones smoke, quitting can reduce risk of heart attack by 50 percent or more. Encourage the smoker to talk about their feelings and what they’re going through. Smoking may be a comforting lifelong habit. Be positive and encouraging — and vent your frustration to a friend instead. Be understanding as they go through withdrawal symptoms. Try not to take it personally if they’re especially irritable, short-tempered, and tired. If you would like to quit smoking then you may want to consider some products to help you quit, you may want to check out herbs instead of tobacco to help you, you can check out herb grinders carried by Grass city.
Nicotine replacement therapy, support groups, and counseling are readily available through SignatureMD.
9. SADNESS, ANGER AND DEPRESSION
Negative emotions affect and change your physical health. You can die from a broken heart. Persistent sadness and grief, agonizing emotional and psychological states can have a very real effect your physical health. An important aspect of maintaining good cardiovascular health is minimizing stress, anger, and depression. If one of your parents lives alone, for example, he or she may feel disconnected and lonely. Encourage him or her to get out, make new friends. Call and make an effort to interact. A local church or community center is an excellent place to connect older adults with each other. Walking, Tai Chi, Yoga, a visit, and even a regular phone call can make a big difference.
SignatureMD-affiliated doctor Dr. Jeffrey Gorodetsky points out the major hurdle of having a healthy heart: “The primary challenges in promoting cardiac health remain patient oriented, with poor diet, inactivity, obesity and smoking leading to chronic disease and increased cardiac disease.” The power and choice to be healthy is in your hands. By making the right decisions, you can do everything you can to keep your heart healthy.
SignatureMD (signaturemd.com), with offices in Los Angeles, California and Richmond, Virginia, is one of the nation’s largest providers of initial conversion and ongoing support services to concierge medicine physicians, with an expanding network of over 160 affiliated primary care physicians and specialists across 31 states.