Heart attack: Who is at risk?

Photo source: Cleveland Clinic 
Sometimes we hear someone somewhere slept and did not wake up. Other times we also hear someone just slumped and died. All of these may not be far from the issue of a heart attack which has become the number one silent killer.

Over the years and in recent times, the high fatality rate of the various heart diseases ranging from myocardial infarction (MI), angina, and heart failure, has been a great cause for inevitable concern. In the light of this, health professionals have rated the issue of myocardial infarction (popularly known as heart attack) as a top health concern.

There is a difference between a heart attack (myocardial infarction) and heart failure. A heart attack occurs due to a block in one of its blood vessels. Meaning that the regular supply of blood to the heart muscles abruptly goes incorrect, which prevents it from getting oxygen thereby making the muscle to die. On the other hand, heart failure refers to the pumping function of the heart. Every time the heart beats, it squeezes a certain amount of blood. In other words, the heart’s inability to efficiently pump blood is what heart failure is all about.

According to National Heart, Lund and Blood Institute (NHI), coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of heart attacks. CHD is a disease that has to do with the build-up of plaque in the coronary artery. However, there are a couple of things to take note of to know who is at risk for heart attack.

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Overweight and obesity – obesity is a severe medical condition that leads to multiple other medical issues like high blood pressure, sleep disorder, high blood cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and even cancer (NHI, 2017). Someone who is overweight or obese has the chances of having a heart attack. Click here to read more about overweight and body mass index.

High blood pressure – HBP is also known as hypertension. Blood pressure by way of definition is the strength of your blood pushing against the sides of your blood vessels (the arteries) as the heart pumps blood. Thus, it becomes high blood pressure when this force becomes too high. There are two forms of numbers that the blood pressure is written, the systolic (top) and diastolic (bottom). For example ‘120/70’.

High blood sugar – sometimes called high blood glucose or hyperglycemia is when the levels of one’s blood sugar are very high. According to WebMD, it is a primary concern especially because it can affect people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It means that someone with a high blood sugar is living with a risk factor for heart attack.

High blood cholesterol – cholesterol is a compound of the sterol type found in most body tissues. High blood cholesterol means that there is a high amount of cholesterol in the blood. It is one of the leading causes of heart disease that leads to heart attack.

Smoking – it has been said a lot of times that smoking is the primary preventable cause of death these days. Smoking damages the organs of the body. The chemicals used in producing tobacco destroy the blood cells, impairs the function and structures of the heart and blood vessels. When smoking comes together with other risk factors like the ones above, a heart attack is impending.

Unhealthy diet – too much unhealthy kinds of food increase the risk of having a heart attack, heart diseases or stroke. A lot of people just eat for eating sake. Eating healthy diet would reduce the chances of having high cholesterol, high blood pressure or even becoming overweight or obese.

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Lack of physical exercise – people with sedentary lifestyles can also be faced with the risk of heart attack. Constant physical activities can help keep the heart and lungs healthy. There is the need to keep working the muscles instead of always relaxing.

The above risk factors can be adequately controlled, but on another hand, some other factors cannot be controlled. One of such uncontrollable factors is age (especially for men 45 and above). Another factor that is beyond one’s control is if there is a history of heart attack traced back to family members like parents or grandparents. The last on this article is preeclampsia which is a rise in the blood pressure of a pregnant woman.

Symptoms of heart attack

There are different people and different symptoms of heart attack. Some do get the symptoms while others do not. Below are some of the symptoms:
•    Chest pain: which could be in the form of pressure, heartburn or a feeling of indigestion causing discomfort. The pain usually spread to around the neck, jaw, and back.
•    Shortness of breath:
•    Nausea
•    Sudden dizziness
•    Unusual tiredness
•    Cold sweat

Because heart attack happens suddenly, it is always advised that once any of these symptoms is noticed, be at alert and seek medical advice from a professional.

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