When it comes to matters of heart health, we are going to look at the condition called myocardial infarction- most commonly known as a heart attack. But what really is a heart attack? A heart attack is a sudden lack of blood supply to the heart due to the blockage of arteries that supply blood to the heart. A blockage can be caused by the building up of fat in the arteries over time.

During a heart attack, there are a number of warning signs to take note of in case you or a loved one may experience. Some common symptoms may include:

  • Discomfort or tightness around the neck, arm or chest
  • Pain on the arm, chest, jaw or upper abdomen
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Feeling lightheaded, dizzy or weak
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sensation of being sick
  • A feeling of anxiety

However, it is important to understand that different people experience different symptoms. A heart attack can occur with warning signs and to some (especially women) with no signs or any chest pain.

Heart attack is an emergency, if you experience any of the symptoms or someone near you is experiencing a heart attack, call 911 and state that you are having a heart attack. It is better to seek help and find out you were wrong about it than to ignore. Especially women- who often experience “silent” heart attacks with no warning signs.

According to the American Heart Association, there are a number of risk factors that may increase your chances of having a heart attack. These can include:

  • Gender (men have a greater risk than women)
  • Heredity and family history
  • Obesity/being overweight
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Large consumption of tobacco or alcohol

Age is another high risk factor for a heart attack. As we get older, there are certain changes to our heart that can occur such as the heart not being able to beat as fast, or the hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Over time, this can weaken or damage the heart muscles.

Fortunately, there are a number of measures you can take to prevent a heart attack from happening and/or its reoccurrence such as:

  • Eating a healthy and nutritious diet
  • Being physically active
  • Managing stress
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

After a heart attack it is important to take care of one’s self. Going back to your daily routine will be the ultimate goal especially if you had been hospitalized. However, it is important to seek advice from your doctor/medical profession and to take it one breath at a time. Recovery will depend on the amount of damage that occurred during the heart attack.

Let us take care of our heart’s health, for it is important for our well-being. On this month of love, I wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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