Home Heart Health News Heart attack: Five ways to prevent the dangerous condition

Heart attack: Five ways to prevent the dangerous condition

5 min read

Heart attacks are caused when plaque in a blood vessel bursts, blocking the flow of blood.

This starves the heart of essential oxygen, leading to a heart attack.

Symptoms that a heart attack is occurring can come on suddenly or develop over time.

They include a pain in the chest, feeling lightheaded, sweating and shortness of breath.

Experts at Harvard Medical School, US, said a heart attack can be prevented with these five habits.

Avoid smoking

“Smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipes is as bad for the heart and arteries as it is for the lungs,” they write online.

“If you smoke, quitting is the biggest gift of health you can give yourself. Secondhand smoke is also toxic, so avoid when possible.”

The British Heart Foundation and the NHS also consider smoking to be a major risk factor for heart attacks and heart disease.

“Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do for your heart,” they said online.

Drink alcohol in moderation

Now summer has started it can be easy to drink a lot more without realising. However, to avoid a heart attack it may be worth cutting back on those Sangrias.

“If you drink alcohol, limit your intake - one to two drinks a day for men, no more than one a day for women.”

Keep active

Harvard Health School described this as the “magic bullet” for heart health.

“Any amount of activity is better than none: at least 30 minutes a day is best.”

The NHS recommends doing “at least” 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, like cycling, and strength exercises on two or more days a week.

Maintain a healthy weight

“Carrying extra pounds, especially around the belly, strains the heart and tips you towards diabetes,” said the experts.

“If you are overweight, losing just five per cent and 10 per cent of your starting weight can make a big difference in your blood pressure and blood sugar.”

The British Heart Foundation said overweight individuals are at greater risk of coronary heart disease and hence a heart attack.

Interesting diet

Add fruits and vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fat, good protein (from beans, nuts, fish and poultry), and herbs and spices,” recommended the experts.

“Subtract processed foods, salt, rapidly digested carbohydrates, red meat and soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages.”

Research has shown eating a mediterranean diet with more fish, olive oil and vegetables could reduce your heart attack risk.

A 2016 study found healthy people who adopted Mediterranean-type eating habits were up to 16 per cent less likely to suffer damage to their hearts or arteries than those who did not.

The findings indicate that 12.5 per cent of cardiovascular deaths in the UK could be avoided if more Britons switched to a Mediterranean diet.

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