Unfortunately, the incidence of heart attack and heart disease is on the rise. Many times, heart disease and heart attacks can be prevented – even when heart disease is hereditary. With the popularity of fast food, pre-packaged frozen dinners, and fattening desserts increasing every day, so do the number of heart attacks per year. Heart disease is usually a silent killer because often, its victims had no idea that they were at risk. In fact, heart disease is the number one killer of women. Why is that? Women tend to think that a heart attack is only something that happens to a man – when a heart attack can happen to nearly anyone, young or old – and those women do not get screened for risk factors. Regular check-ups with your physician and regular heart disease screenings are a must to see if you are at risk. Along with that, the tips in this article will help you avoid a heart attack. The tips are as follows:
1.) Watch what you eat – Quite possibly the biggest risk factor for heart disease is an unhealthy diet full of saturated fats and cholesterol. Eat a healthy, balanced diet that is low in fat and full of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, complex carbohydrates, and plenty of fiber. Also it is imperative to drink plenty of water. High cholesterol levels can also be hereditary, so make sure you visit your doctor and have your cholesterol levels checked regularly.
2.) Exercise – Along with diet and regular check-ups, this is the most important tool of all. Regular exercise strengthens your body and your heart muscles, and helps promote weight loss. Excess weight is a strain for the heart. Studies have shown that excess weight around the middle is the most dangerous. Exercise also helps relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and can even help lower cholesterol. Besides, who does not want to have a more toned physique?
3.) Aspirin is your friend – Ask your doctor about beginning a daily aspirin regimen. Aspirin is a drug derived from the bark of the white willow tree, and is a natural blood thinner. This helps to prevent your arteries from getting clogged, which in turn, helps to prevent heart attacks. Again, make sure to clear this with your doctor first because aspirin is not safe for everyone to take. In a person with ulcers, it can cause the ulcers to bleed. So check with your doctor.
4.) Cut back on alcohol – Studies have shown that drinking one glass of red wine per day is actually beneficial to the heart, due to the potent antioxidants found in red wine. But, drinking more than one glass of wine or more than one beer per day actually increases the risk of heart attack. Moderation is the key here.
5.) Keep an eye on your blood pressure – When a person has high blood pressure, his / her heart is working overtime. You want to avoid any unnecessary stress on the heart, so it is important to keep your blood pressure down. It would be a good investment to buy an automatic blood pressure monitor and check your blood pressure every day. Keep a log of your findings so you can discuss them with your doctor. By engaging in stress-reducing activities, taking time out to relax, and to exercise, you can naturally lower your blood pressure. There are also natural supplements and foods that help lower blood pressure, such as garlic and even tea. Talk to your doctor before you take any supplements, especially if you are taking aspirin or other medications. If need be, your doctor can also start you on prescription blood pressure medication which will help keep your blood pressure under control.
6.) Relax and de-stress – Stress will make any kind of condition, especially a heart condition, worse. It is vitally important to take time out each day to engage in relaxing activities such as swimming, walking, meditation, yoga, or even something as simple as a nice, hot bath. A massage is another wonderful way to relieve stress. If you do not have money for a massage, you can always enlist a loved one to help. The plus side to that is the power of simple human touch – it has the power to lower blood pressure all on its own. Plus, even a touch as simple as someone holding your hand (but especially a massage) stimulates the release of feel-good hormones. Those hormones and endorphins not only make you feel good, they make the stress just melt away. Less stress equals lower risk of heart attack. It is an excellent way to help avoid a heart attack.
7.) Get some sleep! – Do not underestimate the need for sleep. Sleep is absolutely necessary to anyone's wellbeing, and is your body's way of regenerating and repairing itself every night. Not to mention, getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night will drastically reduce stress, which in turn helps lower your risk of a heart attack. If you are having trouble sleeping, please talk to your doctor. Your doctor can recommend things to help you sleep, including prescription medicine if need be. Aim for 8-9 hours of sleep every night, which is the optimal amount of time for an adult. If that is not possible, get no less than 7 hours of sleep at night. Sleep is the very foundation of health and wellness!
In conclusion, do your best to eat right, get plenty of sleep and plenty of exercise, take time out to relax, and visit your doctor regularly. If you have any genetic / hereditary problems in your family, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, it is of utmost importance that you get both checked regularly. Remember to have annual physicals and routine regular check-ups at your doctor's office. Above all, do not worry! Follow all the tips listed above and you will successfully avoid a heart attack … and your heart will keep on beating for a good, long time.