Would you like to know how to improve your heart health and have a better quality of life for many years to come? Read on.
All over the world, the most common cause of death is a heart attack. A heart attack takes the life of more than 1.5 million people each year in the U.S. alone! Such suffering affects people primarily in the most productive time of their lives, between the ages of 35 and 65 years. This can be avoided by paying close attention to certain risk factors, which contribute greatly to suffering a heart attack.
The following are among the most important risk factors that could possibly cause a heart attack (and an immediate or sudden death 50 percent of the time):
In addition, recent studies published in Finland showed that single women and men, and people who live alone, have a 60 to 70 percent greater risk of heart attack. In addition, these groups have more than 160 percent greater risk of a related sudden death than those who are married or live with family.
The only risk factor we cannot do anything about is our family history. None of us has the ability to choose our parents or our genes. However, we can take control of the other risk factors with a little effort on our part. Let's look at these risk factors.
The first one is smoking -- simply stop smoking.
Have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol? Visit your doctor at least every three months to make sure these risk factors are under strict control. This will reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack or a related sudden death as much as possible.
Making a lifestyle change to include a healthy diet and daily exercise requires effort and planning. Start this radical lifestyle change today for the sake of being healthy and living a better and more productive life for many years to come.
If you do not have any of these risk factors or do not know your state of health, it's important to see your doctor at least once a year.
In the meantime, keep an eye open for the symptoms that can be a sign of an imminent heart attack: chest pain, jaw pain, shoulder or arm pain, back pain between the shoulders, feeling of pressure in the chest, difficulty breathing, feeling of indigestion, rapid heart beat, cold sweats and nausea.
Among the elderly, the symptoms may be unusual and could take the form of dizziness and fainting spells as well.
In summary, if you wish to avoid a heart attack and sudden or immediate death, see your doctor regularly and follow this advise:
1. Avoid smoking.
2. Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
3. Do at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise every day.
4. Consult your doctor about your blood sugar, cholesterol levels and high blood pressure numbers.
5. Take your medications as prescribed.
6. Stay in close contact with your loved ones.
Juan A. Escarfuller, MD, is a cardiologist and Director of Outreach at the Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care and is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He is board certified in internal medicine, cardiology and nuclear cardiology.