Over 550 million people worldwide suffer from heart and circulation diseases, and this figure has been growing as a result of altered lifestyles, unhealthy dietary practices, and greater exposure to dangerous environmental pollutants. If this trend persists, the prevalence of heart disease will rise further.
Heart diseases take around 19 million lives worldwide each year, which accounts for approximately one-third of all deaths worldwide. This equals roughly 50,000 people daily, or one fatality every 1.7 seconds! In this post, let’s focus on how to reduce the risk of heart attacks. Let’s get into it!
What is a heart attack?
When the blood flow to the heart is significantly impeded or blocked, it results in a heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction. An accumulation of fat, cholesterol and other substances in the heart’s (coronary) arteries causes the obstruction. Plaques are the term for these fatty, cholesterol-rich deposits.
Atherosclerosis is the term for the accumulation of plaque. A plaque may sometimes rupture, forming a clot that restricts blood flow. Some of the heart muscle might become damaged or even die if there is not enough blood flow. Heart attacks could be “silent,” going undiagnosed, or they could be a devastating catastrophe that results in immediate death.
Major reasons for heart attacks
- High-fat diet – Consumption of high fats, especially saturated and trans fat, is known to wreak havoc in your cardiovascular system. Saturated fat increases the level of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in your body, whereas trans fats not only spike up LDL but also reduce HDL (good cholesterol). According to the latest research, a high-fat diet activates a certain destructive protein in your heart, which sharply intensifies the oxidative damage of the heart muscles.
- Lack of physical activity – Sedentary lifestyle is where hypertension, excess body weight, and other primary lifestyle diseases buds from; all of these are risk factors for heart attacks. It often leads to reduced circulation, decreased cardiac activity, and increased building up of fat deposits in your arteries.
- High blood pressure – Hypertension puts pressure on the arterial walls causing damage to them. This will eventually lead to plaque buildup, clotting, and reduced blood flow to the heart. Further, high blood pressure will also put an extra load on your heart muscles to beat faster.
- Smoking – This is the most notorious culprit behind heart attacks worldwide. Toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke cause blood thickening and subsequent clot formation in the blood vessels. These toxicants also reduce oxygen availability and induce tissue damage in the heart. According to researchers, smokers are at 4 times more risk of having heart attacks than non-smokers.
- Diabetes – Having a high blood sugar level will eventually damage the blood vessels leading to the development of several cardiovascular ailments, including heart attacks. Diabetes also puts you at risk of developing other risk factors for heart attacks, like obesity and hypertension.
- Obesity – Obesity, especially abdominal obesity, will increase your risk of fat deposition in the blood arteries. It also hikes up the inflammation markers in your system, which causes damage to the arterial walls, further increasing the risk of heart attacks.
6 Simple lifestyle modifications to reduce the risk of heart attacks
Do regular exercise to prevent heart attacks. If you prefer moderate activities, try getting at least 150 minutes per week. For the ones who love strength training or vigorous exercises, 75-80 minutes a week will suffice. Being active is the most potent weapon for fighting all lifestyle diseases.
Include good quality Omega-3 fats
Emphasis on “good quality.” Yes, you need to ensure that you get your Omega fats from a healthy source. We have all been told that fishes are one of the best sources of omega 3; while this remains true, it is to be understood that we are not talking about the unhealthy farmed fishes here.
Always prefer wild-caught fishes, brimming with natural, clean nutrients, rather than the farmed toxin-filled ones. You can also opt for omega-3 supplements made from such clean sources. Omega-3 fats help to reduce inflammation, clear build-up in arteries as well as decrease triglyceride levels in your body. You should also consider green-lipped mussel oil or their supplements as it has one of the most powerful omega 3, known as Eicosatetranoic, in them.
Have an antioxidant-rich diet
Oxidative stress and free radicals in the body could cause damage to the arterial walls and cardiac tissues. An antioxidant-rich diet will help fight against these, keeping several diseases, including heart attacks, at bay. How to prevent a heart attack with food? Try including lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet, as they are jammed with antioxidants.
Munch up on fiber-rich foods
High consumption of dietary fiber will help to check your cholesterol levels, body weight, and blood pressure. It also helps to reduce inflammation in the body. Some specific water-soluble fibers, for example, beta-glucan commonly found in oats, are known to lower the level of bad cholesterol as well as hike up good ones.
Not getting enough sleep is correlated with increased blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and atherosclerosis. Studies show that individuals with irregular sleep patterns are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular ailments. So ensure you get 7-8 hours of good night's sleep.
Maintain healthy body weight
A healthy body weight is essential to keep a check on heart disease. This will prevent excess fat deposits in the blood vessels and help you maintain healthy blood pressure.
Heart attack is one of the most dreaded health condition, but is almost prevent completely. Now that you have an idea of how to reduce the risk of heart attacks, share it with your loved ones too!