Contributed by – Dr Dhrity Vats
Suman had always been quite healthy and fit. She never had any serious health complaints and lived a fairly normal lifestyle. She had never imagined that at some point of time in life she would have to read and consult for her sudden chest pain.
While coming back home from work one day, Suman suddenly started feeling breathless and sweaty, the sensation was acute enough to make her park her car on the side of the road and call her family doctor for advice. Her doctor suggested a battery of tests to determine the cause of her symptoms, her results showed heart blockage.
Like Suman many of us wait for an emergency situation to arise before we take an account of our health. Our body shows a lot of heart blockage symptoms which we tend to ignore as a small problem.
To keep a check on heart attack symptoms, do not ignore the following if they occur frequently.
- Chest Pain – This is one of the earliest signs of any heart problems. Pain is felt in the centre of the chest for a minute or so, can keep coming and going away. It feels like squeezing pressure in the centre of the chest.
- Breathlessness – Shortness of breath or inability to breathe in properly most likely be a heart disease symptom. This is not generally after a period of exertion. It can happen without any cause.
- Discomfort in the upper body – An unusual pain or discomfort is felt in the hands, neck. jaws and even stomach at times. There is a heaviness in the limbs and stomach which feels like bloating.
- Disturbed sleep – Sleep apnea can occur during a heart attack, compressing the upper airway and robbing the heart of essential blood flow.
- Irregular heartbeat –Mostly when your heartbeat increases rapidly without any attack of anxiety it can be a red flag of involvement of the heart.
- Nausea and uneasy stomach – They both can be confused with any stomach infection and you might wonder what have you eaten but they are silent cardiac arrest symptoms.
- Heartburn – Also known as acidity but this is a rare red flag which can be a heart problem symptom.
- Pain in left arm – It’s the commonest heart disease symptoms. Often confused with nerve pain due to cervical spondylitis.
Risk Factors out of Control
- Age –As you keep getting old the risk of getting a heart problem increases. Women more than 55 and men more than 45 are at a higher risk.
- Gender – Males are at a higher risk of cardiac problems as estrogen provides women with some protection against heart disease.
- Race or ethnicity –people of South East Asia are at a higher risk of any cardiac problem
- Family History – If anyone in the family having a blood relationship has had a history of heart problem then there are higher chances of heart issue.
How to reduce the chances of Heart Problems
Lifestyle management is a very common term used these days to prevent any heart problem. A lot of changes should be brought in one’s life to prevent a heart problem.
- Eat a healthy diet – Including fruits and green vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Avoid saturated fats and food high in sodium.
- Exercise regularly – Exercising regularly for a minimum of 30 minutes increases the cardiovascular activity thus maintains a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. All of these can lower your risk of heart disease.
- Keep a track of weight – Overweight people are at a higher risk of cardiac disease. Therefore, by keeping control over diet and managing regular fitness goals one should keep a track of weight.
- Control your blood pressure – Those having High BP are generally those who at a higher risk of developing any cardiac ailment. Hypertensive individuals generally have cardiac arrest which can be even fatal.
- Control alcohol and smoke –Cigarette and alcohol raise blood pressure which can be harmful to your heart. Avoid these as much as possible as both are addictive and can even make you gain weight.
- Give time to the body – Activities which are stress busters should be done often. They can be shopping, family outings, spas, yoga and laughing clubs.
- Have a good night sleep – Sleep is very essential for a healthy life. One should get a peaceful 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Inculcate good sleeping habits like having a bath before going to bed. Use lavender oil in your bathing water. Creams which have lavender and camphor help in soothing the atmosphere and thus enable you to have a calm sleep.
The heart is the livewire of your body keep it healthy and, on a check, if you have the majority of bad habits. Lead a healthy and happy life to keep your heart light and beating.
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