Having a heart attack can cause heart death. Today, we are talking about Joe. Joe has other family members who have had heart attacks. He is not that old yet, but he has never eaten terribly well and does not really take time to exercise. He is a few pounds overweight. He did smoke cigarettes for 10 years, but quit about 5 years ago. All of these things put him at higher risk for a heart attack, although stopping the tobacco is in his favor. Through the years the vessels have not stayed real elastic as they have not had the best of nutrition to keep them springy and there is build up inside the walls. As the years roll on, things wear out a bit faster because of the added strain on them. If he continues on this path, his odds for having a heart attack are great or developing some other life altering condition. It is not too late for Joe though. He could still do things to decrease his risk for a heart attack.
If you hitched a ride on one of his blood cells, you could spot the narrowing of the arteries where saturated and trans fatty acids have been sticking to the sides of the vessels. Saturated fats have trouble dissolving. The same way that saturated fat solidifies when left out on the counter, that is what can happen inside the body as well. It does not make for a healthy heart and over time, it can lead to a heart attack.
When these vessel pathways are narrowed by build up, stress or other health reasons, the blood that transports oxygen and nutrients can not get through to nourish the tissues. A heart "attack" ensues. If this happens, every place where that vessel needs to take nourishment and oxygen will die. If too much dies, then the heart fails as it can not effectively do its job or continue to pump adequately. If it can not do that, then it can not send the needed blood with nourishment and oxygen throughout the body efficiently, including the brain. If the crisis is not reversed immediately, the whole body will fail.
Some of the risks for heart attack can not be avoided, like your age or gender. Once a male reaches 45 and a female 55, it automatically increases the risk for heart disease issues. Men are still at higher risk, although that gap is narrowing. Once a woman is post menopausal, the risk rises sharply. There does seem to be some increase in people who have a family history of heart attack. Not much you can do about these things, but there are many things that you can do to decrease your risk.
1. Not smoking is huge. It is never too late to quit either. Research shows positive changes even after being tobacco free for 24 hours and within 1-3 years, all ill effects can be reversed.
2. Keeping your weight down. Even just a few pounds can add stress to your heart.
3. Exercising, even just simple walking several times a week can go a long way in decreasing your risk.
4. A good, healthy diet on a consistent basis can decrease your risk substantially for heart disease or heart attacks as well as many other health conditions.
Joe took a look at his risk for a heart attack and decided it was time to do something about it. He wanted to be around for his family as long as possible. He is learning that changing lifestyle patterns he has had all his life can be difficult at times, but he is taking a day at a time. He incorporated some easy healthy meals and is finding ways to enjoy exercising. He is feeling better and has taken the steps to decrease his risk for a heart attack.