New research from Sweden proves that almost four out of five heart attacks can be prevented simply by following a healthy lifestyle. After following 20,000 men for 11 years, they discovered that those who did not smoke, and maintained several healthy habits, reduced their heart attack rates by 86%.
Reducing Your Risk
The first step in preventive health is to know your personal risk for a particular disease or condition. Consulting with your primary care physician and participating in health screenings are recommended. Screenings for heart disease check for coronary artery disease, which is the leading cause of heart attacks.
Healthy habits can make all of the difference in preventing a heart attack. In the study, men who had the lowest risk did not smoke, walked or biked for at least 40 minutes per day, took part in exercise for at least one hour per week, limited alcohol intake to one or two glasses per day, and followed a diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, reduced-fat dairy, whole grains and fish.
Some risk factors such as age, family history and gender also contribute to your risk of heart disease and a heart attack, but researchers from this study found that even modifying small habits can drastically decrease your risk.
Quitting smoking can reduce heart attack rate by up to 36%. Following a healthy diet with moderate alcohol consumption can lower heart attack risk by 35%.
To start a plan for yourself, meet with your doctor to set up personal goals for diet and exercise. If you have other risk factors including high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, medications can also play an important role in prevention.
Think before you drink
The holidays are a time for celebrating and spending time with family and friends. It’s the most festive time of year – we decorate trees, light menorahs, share meals and smiles, and sing songs together.
However, did you know it’s also the time of year when heart attacks are most likely to occur? It’s true. Sadly, between Thanksgiving and New Years, there is a nation-wide increase in cardiac-related deaths.
Get a puppy to lower blood pressure
The scary truth is, December is a peak month for heart attacks, in part due to binge drinking, which can lead to heart attacks and even death, especially among people who already have underlying medical conditions.
Emotional Stress: the holiday season can be a source of stress with family you do or do not want to interact along with or financial pressures with gifts and travel expenses.
Enjoy some quality family time
Then, people sit down for a big meal, and their blood pressure shoots up. In some cases, the heart can’t handle all the strain goes into cardiac arrest.
Weather: breathing cold air can constrict the blood vessels and therefore increase the pressure causing clots to form. However, there are still a number of heart attacks in warmer weather climates.
Get out and have fun
Poor eating habits, excessive alcohol or abusing drugs can lead to an increased strain on your heart. Also, be careful with the over-the-counter medications you take. People like to “solve” little ailments with Tylenol or other products that contain acetaminophen and end up taking it like candy.