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How to Prevent a Heart Attack?

May 9, 2022

When the heart's blood supply is cut off, a heart attack develops. A build up of fat, cholesterol, fibrin, blood cells, calcium etc which create plaque in the arteries that supply the heart, is the most common cause of blockage (coronary arteries).

A plaque can break and generate a clot, which can cause blood flow to be blocked. Parts of the heart muscle may be damaged or destroyed if blood flow is disrupted.

Heart Attack: Symptoms and Causes    

Symptoms                                

A sense of pressure, weight, tightness, or squeezing across your chest.
Body ache - it may feel as if the pain is extending from your chest to your arms (typically the left arm, but it can impact both arms), jaw, neck, back, and stomach.

  • feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • sweating.
  • shortness of breath.
  • feeling sick (nausea) or feeling sick (vomiting).
  • an overpowering sense of anxiety (similar to a panic attack).
  • coughing or wheezing.

The pain in the chest is frequently severe, while some people simply have moderate discomfort, akin to indigestion.

Read: How to improve good cholesterol 'HDL'

Heart Attack Prevention and Causes

What are the Risk Factors that Usually Trigger a Heart Attack?      

A heart attack can be caused by several circumstances. You can, however, make changes to modifiable risk factors.
The following are modifiable risk factors that you can help control:

  • smoking
  • high cholesterol
  • obesity
  • lack of exercise
  • high levels of stress
  • diabetes or prediabetes
  • consuming a diet heavy in  trans fats
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • sleep apnea

According to the National Institute on Aging, the risk of suffering a heart attack is higher for persons over 65 than for those under 65. This is especially true for females.
You may also be at a higher risk of having a heart attack if you have a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, or diabetes and must be careful about how to prevent a heart attack effectively.

Read: Alternative Ways to Prevent Coronary Artery Disease

Tests and Investigations to Predict Heart Attack.                                

Routine  tests
Routine blood investigations like blood sugar, lipid profile etc help to identify patients with risk factors for coronary atherosclerosis. Investigations like ECG, Echocardiogram and TMT are also routinely suggested by doctors to find patients with increased risk of  heart attack or myocardial infarction.
The most unfortunate thing is that all the above mentioned tests can be normal in a patient who suddenly develop a major heart attack. A significant proportion of patients who develop heart attack have perfect blood cholesterol level. This implies the need for more special investigations which helps us to understand the risk for heart attack better.
Special tests
1.hsCRP or highly sensitive C Reactive protein is a marker of inflammation which helps to indentify low grade chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is now considered as one of the major contributing factor towards the development of atherosclerosis. Patients can be divided into normal(less than 1), moderate(1-3) and severe(3-10) risk categories based on the hsCRP level in the blood.
2.Lipoprotein a - Lp(a) – Lipoprotein a is a lipoprotein similar to LDL but with an additional protein apo(a). Many large clinical trials have shown elevated levels of Lp (a) to be an independent risk factor for heart disease (Coronary artery diease). Evidence shows that risk of developing heart disease increases when other risk factors like high LDL and low HDL is seen together with elevated Lp(a). Lipoprotein (a) levels in blood above 30mg/dl is considered high risk for a patient to have cardiac disease.
3.Coronary Calcium Scan -This is a CT scan that helps to access the calcium containing plaque in your blood vessels supplying the heart. This is usually done for patients who have mild to moderate risk of heart disease based on the previously discussed risk factors. The risk of heart attack can be assessed based on the score as well as age of the patient. That means presence of even low scores in a young patient indicates risk, but the same score for a 70yr old person can be normal.


How to Reduce the Chances of a Heart Attack?

Chelation Therapy                

Some patients with high risk for heart disease undergo  chelation therapy using disodium EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid). Chelation is a chemical process that involves binding heavy metal toxins in our body so that they can be eliminated from the body. Chelation is used in traditional medicine to treat iron overload and severe lead poisoning, among other things. A health care provider gives a solution of disodium EDTA in a series of infusions into the veins as a supplementary treatment for heart disease.

Even though the benefits of EDTA chelation was identified accidently for the first time, a well conducted Randomised controlled trial TACT 1 proved beyond doubt the benefits of chelation in preventing cardiovascular events in diabetic patients. It was also shown that EDTA chelation reduced all cause mortality significantly.
Read: How Chelation therapy uses EDTA to treat heart disease?
Lifestyle Changes 

Quit smoking                                

Quit smoking if you're a smoker. Encourage anyone who smokes in your home to give up. We understand how difficult it is. It is, however, more difficult to recover from a heart attack or stroke, as well as to live with chronic heart disease. 

Exercise                                    

Exercise offers numerous advantages, including strengthening the heart and increasing circulation. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight while also lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure. All of these things can help you avoid heart diseases.

Diet                                     

Limit Trans  fats, high-sodium diets, and added sweets. Eat a lot of healthy fruits and vegetables. The DASH diet is an example of an eating plan that can help you lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, two factors that can reduce your heart disease risk.

Stress Management            

Stress is linked to heart disease in a variety of ways. Extreme stress can result in a heart attack. Furthermore, popular stress-relieving behaviors like overeating, smoking, and frequent drinking, might be hazardous to your heart. Exercising, focusing on something peaceful or tranquil, listening to music, and meditating are all effective stress-reduction techniques. 

Drugs & Supplements         

Supplements may help lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure, and other factors that put you at risk for heart disease, according to research.

Heart Attack Prevention Methods

Fibre and Sterols for Your Heart

While thinking about how to prevent a heart attack, using Fiber and sterols is very beneficiary for your heart. Fibre, which can be found in fruits, grains, vegetables, and legumes, helps your body absorb less cholesterol from your diet. Every day, try to consume at least 25 to 30 grams of it. Blond psyllium husk, which is commonly found in fiber supplements, has been shown to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol. It can also increase HDL, the "good" sort. 

Sterols and Stanols                      

These can be found in foods like nuts and grains, or they can be purchased as supplements. They lower the amount of cholesterol absorbed by your body from your diet. For patients with excessive cholesterol, experts recommend 2 grams per day to help decrease LDL cholesterol.

Other Supplements That May Offer Benefits          

  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
  • Fish Oil
  • Green Tea
  • Flaxseed Oil
  • Alpha lipoic acid
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Also read: Supplements for cardiovascular health

EECP                

Enhanced External Counter Pulsation (EECP) is a non-invasive treatment for improving collateral circulation of heart. Three pairs of external inflatable cuffs are worn around the lower legs, upper legs, and buttocks to administer treatment. These cuffs continuously inflate and deflate to enhance blood return to the heart throughout the resting portion of the heartbeat. Since it improves collateral circulation and endothelial function it is most likely to be beneficial in preventing a heart attack.
If you have any of the risk factors for a heart attack, talk to your doctor about what you may do to reduce your risk.
 

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