A heart attack is a life-threatening episode that is usually the culmination of unhealthy lifestyle habits. One of the primary causes is a buildup of LDL cholesterol – a waxy substance you get from eating certain types of foods. While the abuse inflicted on the heart muscle builds up over an extended period of time, the event itself is often sudden and dramatic.
If you were to poll the general public on the symptom that immediately springs to mind in the event of a heart attack, there is a high probability that most respondents would say chest pain.
They wouldn’t be wrong, as Dr Narbeh Melikian, Consultant Cardiologist at London Bridge Hospital, explained to Express.co.uk.
“However, a proportion of patients have unusual symptoms or suffer a silent heart attack,” said Dr Melikian.
One unusual warning sign is back pain, she noted.
“Don’t worry if you’re not completely sure whether your symptoms are a heart attack, it’s really important that you seek medical attention regardless as quickly as possible,” explains the BHF.
What should I do in the event of a heart attack?
“If you have had a heart attack, it’s important that you rest while you wait for an ambulance, to avoid unnecessary strain on your heart,” advises the NHS.
If aspirin is available and you are not allergic to it, the health body says to slowly chew and then swallow an adult-size tablet (300mg) while you wait for the ambulance.
As it explains, aspirin helps to thin your blood and improve blood flow to your heart.
How to prevent a heart attack
Curbing unhealthy lifestyle habits is a tried-and-tested way to reduce your risk.
If you smoke, quitting cigarettes should be high up on the list.
According to Harvard Health, cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, which, over time, can damage your heart and blood vessels.
Nonsmokers are also at risk. Exposure to secondhand smoke can increase your chance of getting cardiovascular disease by 25 percent to 30 percent, according to research from the FDA.
Lowering your LDL cholesterol levels is also imperative.
LDL cholesterol is a fatty substance you have floating around your bloodstream which gets deposited inside your coronary arteries, explains Harvard Health.
These fatty deposits, called plaques, restrict blood flow, a process that can eventually lead to a heart attack.
Two robust defences against high cholesterol is staying active and eating a Mediterranean-style diet, says the NHS.
Published at Wed, 24 Jun 2020 03:00:00 +0000