Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack. But is there any way to stop it before it starts? With heart disease being the leading cause of death, it's not uncommon to know someone who has had one or maybe even experienced one yourself. A heart attack, or a myocardial infarction, occurs when muscles in the organ have trouble receiving oxygenated blood. This can be the result of a lot of factors, such as plaque buildup in your arteries, high blood pressure, or even a sudden muscle spasm. The CDC states that one in five heart attacks is silent and that the person who has them is usually unaware it's even happening. If you suffer from a chronic heart condition or disease, it's important to learn about what you can do to prevent a heart attack.
Most of the time, people with high blood pressure or coronary artery disease can take preventive measures by making major lifestyle changes. But adopting a healthy lifestyle, maintaining your cholesterol levels, or lowering your high blood pressure won't guarantee that you will never experience a heart attack. Dr. Arash Bereliani from the Beverly Hills Institute for Cardiology and Preventive Medicine states that regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle can help you maintain your heart health, but once you already have cardiovascular disease, you need to take better precautions and visit your doctor because you're at a higher risk of a myocardial infarction. Below, you'll find tips on the best ways to stop a heart attack before it starts.
Learn about the symptoms of a heart attack.
Like we stated above, one in five heart attacks is silent. By "silent," we mean that by the time the person recognizes they are having a heart attack, it is probably already too late. Heart attacks usually start off slow, and you'll likely begin to feel some discomfort or chest pain. This can occur while you're taking part in physical activity like a brisk walk or while you're simply resting on the couch. Most of the time, people who are about to suffer a myocardial infarction often feel faint or lightheaded. They may also feel physical discomfort in their arms or their shoulders. Shortness of breath is one of the major signs of an oncoming heart attack, so it's important to be mindful of your breathing patterns. In some cases, people even experience indigestion, vomiting, or cold sweats, and the general population always mentions some kind of fatigue before it happens. For women, it isn't uncommon to have neck or abdominal pain. If you can learn to identify the signs, you'll find it easier to stop it in its tracks.
Act quickly and call 911 once you recognize the signs.
If you're fully aware of the symptoms and experiencing a handful of them, you need to call 911 and let someone know how you're feeling, regardless of whether you've been diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease. It's crucial to your life that you contact a health care team and request medical services immediately. Even if you're able to stop a heart attack from happening with the following steps, getting medical attention is absolutely necessary to continue monitoring the condition of your heart. Anytime you feel physical discomfort in your chest, you should never leave it up to chance. Don't wait to call your doctor or see if you feel differently in a few minutes or hours, and don't try to drive yourself to the hospital either. Even if you're having trouble identifying whether or not it's a heart attack, you shouldn't feel embarrassed. When it comes to your heart health, there's no such thing as being overprepared, as it's a matter of life and death. Moreover, 911 operators are taught how to respond to these situations and can send emergency medical services (EMS) your way.
Try to buy yourself some time.
A heart attack is the result of an interruption in blood flow. Before you can even think about getting medical treatment to restore your blood flow, you need to think about how you can buy yourself some time. The second you start experiencing chest pain, every single minute matters. Even if you adopted a heart-healthy diet and managed to achieve a lower blood pressure reading, your heart can still experience some sort of blockage and cause an attack. The longer the organ goes without proper blood flow, the more likely it will cause permanent heart damage. Every single second you spend hesitating on whether or not you are experiencing an attack makes a big difference, so you can't just be proactive about eating a healthy diet and expect that to make all the difference. Heart attacks are real, and you also need to be proactive about dealing with them when they're about to knock on your door. Dr. Arash Bereliani urges everyone to take their heart health seriously because waiting to take action can yield negative results, such as permanent damage to the organ and to your overall health. You can contact us at the Beverly Hills Institute for Cardiology and Preventive Medicine if you want to get serious about heart attack prevention and making better, smarter choices for a healthier life.
Take an aspirin or your doctor-prescribed medication.
When it comes to heart attack prevention and stopping it in its tracks, you'll often see the recommendation to take an aspirin. If you've called an ambulance while experiencing chest pain, they've likely given you an aspirin to help the situation from worsening. This is because aspirin can limit the heart damage caused by a lack of blood flow to the heart. Aspirin is a blood thinner and is usually used to relieve mild pain and reduce fever. When you chew aspirin and get it quickly into your bloodstream, this blood-thinning agent can inhibit your platelets from forming blood clots. This is crucial because a blood clot blocks your arteries and makes it more difficult for the heart to receive oxygenated blood. Blood clots formed by platelets actually grow by the minute, and that's why time is always of the essence when it comes to heart attack prevention. Part of the heart muscle can easily get damaged when enough blood clots create a blockage. If you've already been diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease or if this isn't your first heart attack, then you should also take any doctor-prescribed medication for chest pain or heart disease. This can include anything like beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, or anti-platelet agents. As mentioned, you need to chew your medication because it will work a lot faster than if you swallow it whole. Don't forget that every single second counts! Maximize on the efficacy of your medication by making sure to chew your aspirin.
Get in a comfortable position and make it easy for the ambulance to locate you.
This is one of the least obvious steps in stopping a heart attack, but it's one of many helpful tips for anyone who is at high risk of an attack or has experienced any heart problems in the past. If you're trying to stop a heart attack from occurring, you need to relieve pressure on the organ. This can be done by resting in a comfortable sitting position. When you're resting, your body can use less of its effort to hold you up and more effort trying to increase blood flow to your heart. This is absolutely essential as you wait for medical services to arrive. If you're wearing any tight clothing, loosen it and try to take deep and calm breaths. While you're sitting, try to keep your legs up and above your chest to allow gravity to work and let some blood flow through your heart's arteries. Most people don't realize that heart attacks are all about proper circulation, and lying down doesn't really do much for an increase in blood flow.
It's time to take your heart health seriously and see your cardiologist on a regular basis. Not only is heart disease the leading cause of death but it's also the leading cause of disability. When damage is caused to your heart, damage is also being caused to your overall health. While the latest advances in medicine can potentially aid in your recovery, prevention is often better than a cure. Once damage is done, there's no going back.
If you're online searching for "how to prevent heart attack," then you're probably already suffering from a chronic condition. If you aren't, don't wait for a diagnosis to start living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Contact Dr. Bereliani to talk about taking preventive measures and start looking into your medical history. Maintain a healthy body weight and eat plenty of fresh fruit. Remember to limit alcohol and avoid cigarette smoke as much as you possibly can. Prioritize getting regular exercise over just episodic physical activity to achieve a good heart rate. Choose healthy habits like getting a full eight hours of sleep and lowering those cholesterol numbers. Making healthier lifestyle changes starting today can do you a world of good.
For more information on becoming your healthiest self, contact the Beverly Hills Institute for Cardiology and Preventive Medicine. Under the guidance of Dr. Arash Bereliani, you'll get personalized treatment to manage your heart health and increase your quality of life!