A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked. Usually the blockage is a buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other plaque-forming substances in the arteries that feed the heart.
Are you certain your life is healthy enough to stave off a heart attack ?
Heart attacks occur when the coronary arteries become blocked, causing insufficient blood supply and, within minutes, can cause sudden cardiac death. However, heart attacks can be reversed, especially if we can see them coming. About half of all heart attack patients have warning symptoms before the incident.
The good news is that if we act quickly in these situations and get to the hospital in time, the chance of survival is 95%.
Warning Signs You’re Having a Heart Attack
1. Fatigue and breathing difficulties
Dyspnea, or shortness of breath, appears before many heart attacks, particularly among women, and can begin months before we have a heart attack. It is usually accompanied by great fatigue. These are symptoms that are difficult to associate with cardiac arrest, but if we find ourselves exhausted with no apparent cause, it is wise to go to the emergency department in a hurry.
2. Excessive sweating
Sweating more than usual, even if we are not exercising, can be a sign that our heart has a problem. Pumping blood through clogged arteries requires our heart to work harder than usual, our body temperature rises because of this work, and our body sweats to try to keep it at bay. These symptoms can appear days before a heart attack: if we notice cold sweats that have no apparent cause and cold and wet skin, we should go to the doctor without pressing it twice.
Here are other Warning Signs You’re Having a Heart Attack
3. Indigestion, nausea and vomiting
Sometimes heart attacks are preceded by digestive problems, including nausea and vomiting. These are the most difficult symptoms to associate with cardiac arrest, and most often have nothing to do with it, but if we have an iron stomach and have not eaten anything out of the ordinary, sudden indigestion may indicate that something is wrong with our heart, and we would do well to go to the doctor.
4. Chest pain
Although not all heart attacks are preceded by chest pain, this is the most common and most easily recognized symptom. Chest pain is usually prolonged – lasting about 15 minutes – and is perceived as intense pressure on the chest, which can extend to the back, arms and shoulders, especially on the left side (areas that can hurt more than the chest itself). The pain may not be continuous: on numerous occasions it comes and goes, but the heart attack will come sooner or later. Not all heart attacks are preceded by chest pain of equal intensity: it may not hurt much and even then cardiac arrest is imminent. If this symptom occurs, we should immediately notify the emergency department.
5. Irregular pulse
An occasional alteration in the pulse can be considered as something normal. However, when such irregularity is accompanied by symptoms such as weakness, dizziness or shortness of breath it can be a sign of a heart attack, heart failure or an arrhythmia. This is suggested by this study from the University of Arkansas (United States), which indicates that one of the main studies carried out in the face of a possible abnormality is that of the pulse.
Ways to Lower Your Heart Disease Risk
- Getting enough sleep reduces adrenaline and cortisol levels and the risk of heart disease. But it’s not enough to just lie down for seven hours, you have to get good rest and maintain healthy sleeping habits. It is estimated that apnea affects more than 18 million people worldwide. Sleep apnea increases the risk of resistant hypertension or high blood pressure problems that do not respond to usual treatment, significantly increasing the risk of developing heart disease or a stroke.
- Maintaining proper oral hygiene, brushing at least three times a day and flossing, is essential to prevent periodontal disease or gingivitis, but not only that: it can also save us from suffering a heart attack. Just like our gut, our mouth contains a number of bacteria that can be beneficial or harmful to our blood vessels and, consequently, to the functioning of our heart.
- If we have high blood pressure, diabetes, overweight or obesity, have a poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, or a family history of heart disease, we should ask to have our LDL and apolipoprotein B (apoB) levels tested as well. “These are the two best measures for discovering the true risk of a heart attack related to bad cholesterol.
- If our blood test shows deficiencies in vitamins B6 and B12 or folic acid, it could be a sign that we have high levels of homocysteine, an important sulfur amino acid in the blood, which increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and suffering arterial damage.
Including spicy food in our diet at least once a week significantly reduces the risk of dying from heart disease, thanks to capsaicin, the compound responsible for making food itchy.