Pune


HEART HEALTH
July 15th, 2021
3 mins read

What Are the Causes and Symptoms of a Heart Attack? How to Take Precautions?

Heart disease is among the top causes of death in the world

Older, overweight, and obese people are more prone to a heart attack

The risk of a heart attack is lesser when you follow a healthy lifestyle

heart attack occurs when the blood flow to the heart gets blocked. This results in starving the oxygen supply. Heart attacks are also termed myocardial infarctions (MI). Getting timely treatment is crucial to surviving such a condition. Without it, a heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest, [1] where the heart stops working completely.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 17.9 million people die each year, globally, due to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). [2] It is among the leading causes of death in both men and women. [3] To know more about the various heart attack causes, symptoms, and tips on how to prevent heart attack, read on.

What Are the Common Heart Attack Causes? 

Blockage in one or more arteries is the most common cause of a heart attack. Plaque, a build-up of cholesterol and other fatty substances, can form in the arteries. This makes them narrower than normal. During a heart attack, the plaque ruptures, then causes blood clots that block the blood from flowing through the coronary artery. This deprives the heart of oxygen and leads to an attack. Other heart attack causes may include low oxygen levels in the blood and misuse of drugs.

Consuming drugs like cocaine and tobacco can cause spasms that prevents the flow of blood to the heart muscles. There are certain risk factors too that can cause a heart attack. These include your age, smoking and drinking habits, high blood pressure, stress, bad cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and more. Lack of physical activity, metabolic syndrome, and family history with heart attacks can contribute to the list of causes.

What Are Common Heart Attack Symptoms? 

  • Pressure, ache, or tightness in your chest 
  • Pain in arms that may spread to your neck, throat, jaw, or back 
  • Heartburn 
  • Indigestion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Breathlessness
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Fatigue 

Additional Read: Best Exercises to Strengthen Your Heart 

tips for healthy heart

How to Prevent Heart Attack? 

You can prevent a heart attack by making healthier lifestyle choices. Some of these are as follows.

Quit smoking 

Smoking is injurious to you and those around you as raises the risk of heart disease. So, quit smoking for a healthy heart.

Eat healthy

Eat food that is good for your heart. Fill your diet with fruits and vegetables. Consume food items that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids such as fish, avocado, and olive oil.

Maintain a healthy body weight

People who are obese or overweight are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. [4] Speak to a doctor about your ideal body weight and take active steps towards maintaining it. By doing so, you can improve your cholesterol levels as well as heart health.

Exercise

Doing physical exercise on a regular basis reduces the risk of a heart attack. It also lowers your blood pressure and bad cholesterol, while increasing good cholesterol. Exercising for 30 minutes a day is enough to see results. Cardiovascular exercises like swimming or brisk walking are a great help. For even better results, try guided strength or weight training as well.

Limit alcohol

Drinking alcohol increases your blood pressure and heart rate. It also makes you gain weight by increasing fat levels in your blood. So, avoid drinking alcohol completely or consume it in moderation.

Avoid stress

Stress leads to anxiety, which is harmful. Talk to your family and friends or sign up for a stress management program. Physical exercise and meditation can also help. 

Medication and treatment

Follow your doctor’s advice and prescription. If you have heart disease, you can avoid an attack with proper medication. If you haven’t been diagnosed, your doctor may conduct tests like x-rays, CT scans, echocardiograms, electrocardiography, blood tests, and cardiac catheterization.

Based on these, treatments include balloon angioplasty, stent placement, and bypass surgery. Some drugs that are given during heart attack include aspirin, antiplatelet drugs, and thrombolytic therapy. 

Additional Read: Heart Healthy Diet: 15 Foods You Should Eat

As soon as you notice any heart attack symptoms, consult a doctor immediately. If you are alone and suspect the onset of a heart attack, call for medical emergency services. Chew an aspirin until they arrive and do not drive to a medical center. These are emergency protocols to follow and can be avoided altogether with the right care. For proper preventive and reactive care for heart disease, book an appointment with the top doctors using the Bajaj Finserv Health platform.

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