Seeing as heart disease is and should be one of society’s main concerns (instead of aliens and same sex parenting), it’s only natural for us to try to avoid getting a heart attack. If you’re still not convinced, just think about the fact that more than one million Americans suffer a heart attack each year – now you’re thinking, aren’t you?
In any case, instead of reading on all the scary things about myocardial infarction (as doctors refer to it), it’s a much better idea on learning how to prevent a heart attack by lowering a risk of getting one.
1. Maintain Your Blood Pressure
The heart’s main role is to pump blood through your body so that all of your cells can get the oxygen they need. With that being said, it’s logical that high blood pressure, a.k.a. hypertension, is the most common factor of heart disease risk.
Over 50 million people in the US have an elevated blood pressure, which can be regulated by healthy eating (mainly avoiding salt altogether) and exercise. In some case, drugs are required in order to control one’s blood pressure, but if your doctor hasn’t prescribed any medicine for you, just stay on the treadmill and off the salty food.
2. Stop Smoking
Not only is smoking a disgusting and expensive habit, but it also increases your chances of a heart attack. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to suffer from a myocardial infarction as non-smokers.
3. Be Active
Exercise, exercise, exercise. We’re not saying you should start living in the gym or immediately begin training for that city marathon, but getting active is certainly recommended if you want to avoid having a heart attack.
4. Watch Your Cholesterol
Many people first think of cholesterol when someone mentions heart attack. Even though it’s (clearly) not the only factor, it plays a significant role in the risk and prevention of the serious event.
If your goal is avoiding a myocardial infarction, your total cholesterol should be under 200, you good cholesterol over 40, bad under 160, and you triglycerides under 150. This doesn’t ensure you’ll never have a heart attack, but it will surely lower the risk.
5. Control Your Weight
Overweight and obese people aren’t just fat on the outside, but their organs – including the heart – are enveloped in layers of fat, as well. That’s why it really helps if your weight and body mass index (BMI) are within normal limits.
6. Avoid Stress
One of the biggest outside factors that affect the risk of heart attack is stress. Being under a lot of stress can elevate your blood pressure, mess up your cholesterol levels and increase your heart rate – all of which can lead to a heart attack.
Apart from maintaining a healthy waistline, your diet should also be focused on staying in good heart health. Foods low in fat and cholesterol play the main part here, so make sure you eat fruits, veggies, beans, legumes and other plant-based foods, while avoiding saturated fats like the ones in red meat.
8. Manage Diabetes
In case you didn’t know, people who have diabetes are more likely to suffer a heart attack. Therefore, make sure you don’t have it and if you already do, keep it in check to lower the risk of heart disease.