How to keep your heart healthy and cheerful.
Find out why a heart attack is more dangerous in people under the age of 50, what could cause it and what you should do to avoid the incident.
By definition, the myocardial infarction, also known as heart attack, means the blockage of one of the arteries that supply the heart with blood. When the artery is blocked - with a blood clot and/or by fat accumulation - the area of the heart muscle where blood circulation is interrupted starts to be damaged. In this case, emergency intervention is essential. If the artery is unclogged in less than 4-6 hours after the incident, by coronary angiography when a stent is implanted, the damage to the heart tissue is stopped. Fortunately, with a few precautions, heart attacks can be avoided altogether.
How to spot a heart attack
In recent years, in Romania, many young people between the ages of 20 and 45 arrive at the hospital, complaining of the following symptoms:
- severe chest pain (stabbing pain), which can last for a few minutes, can increase in intensity and can spread to the shoulders, arms, back, neck and jaw;
- feeling of suffocation, shortness of breath;
- much faster and irregular heart rate;
- cold sweat, anxiety, fatigue and dizziness;
- nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain.
Young people tend to ignore these warning signs, assuming it's the daily stress, the burnout syndrome, or a side effect of sports activity or energy drinks. If you feel these symptoms, please call 112 or contact a private ambulance service at once.
The paradox is that young people are often more affected by heart attacks than the elderly: over time, the heart develops a network of secondary arteries that can compensate the blood flow in case of a main artery blockage. Whereas in young people's hearts, this network didn't have enough time to form, so the impact of a heart attack is more serious. That's why prevention is still the best approach.
How to prevent a heart attack
Young adults are increasingly prone to heart diseases because, in recent decades, the modern lifestyle brought not only benefits, but many risk factors, as well. Sedentary life and lack of physical activity, smoking, fast food, stress, chronic fatigue, alcohol and others have led to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, which are exactly the factors that precede and determine heart attacks.
It's no secret that it's easier to prevent than to cure. So we recommend some easy-to-apply lifestyle adjustments that will help you keep your heart healthy.
1. Get tested - or take the test at home! Often, "ordinary" blood tests can detect abnormal levels of "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides. For example, in France and Norway, the population was invited to get tested, and as a result of these national health programs, the number of heart attacks decreased by 80%.
You can request an appointment for having a blood sample collected here and the Medvis Care specialists will make sure to provide a pleasant medical experience, in the comfort of your home.
2. Have a heart checkup. Depending on the blood analysis results, a heart check may be recommended to determine the predisposition to heart attack, if there are relevant cues in the lab results or if you have an unlucky family history. In many cases, through diet and a few lifestyle changes, the heart attack can be avoided.
3. Take a (long) break from smoking. Smoking negatively affects all organs and tissues, leading to a risk of a heart attack up to 10 times higher than in non-smokers. Not only "classic" smoking is harmful, but also vaping (e-cigarettes) and using heated tobacco cigarettes, because either way you're inhaling nicotine, which accelerates the heartbeat and raises blood pressure.
4. Keep your blood pressure under control. Another essential negative factor is high blood pressure, which stiffens blood vessel walls and increases the likelihood of heart attack or stroke. There is no simple recipe for lowering blood pressure to the optimal values of 120/80 mm Hg, but you can start by eating less salt and exercising more.
5. Goodbye, obesity! The proverbial "30 minutes of exercise" really help with weight loss. Even moderate physical activity, such as walking, will get you in time to the ideal waistline of less than 90 cm for women and less than 100 cm for men. But the real weight loss starts in the kitchen, with a diet that's rich in fruits and vegetables, low in carbohydrates, and includes very little fat, salt, sugar and processed foods. When you get rid of the excess kilos, the heart has a lot less to "work", so the risk of a heart attack decreases.
6. Give up the rock star life. Excess alcohol and drugs, especially cocaine, have the bad habit of increasing heart rate, stiffening blood vessels and increasing blood pressure - all of which are direct causes of heart attack.
7. Avoid stress. That's easier said than done, we know that. However, if you can't slow down the crazy carousel of everyday life, at least try to take a relaxing break - both during the day and at the end of the week - when you allow yourself to disconnect from worries and responsibilities. After all, remember to enjoy life.
We wish you good health and recommend to stay young at heart!