According to the CDC, 735,000 people have a heart attack every year in the United States. Some form of heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women.
A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, is caused in multiple ways. When at least one of the coronary arteries in the heart becomes blocked, the coronary artery spasms and stops blood flow. Another way for a heart attack to occur is from a tear in the artery of the heart. Certain people are at a higher risk than others. Tobacco use, high blood pressure, family history, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, illegal drug use, and stress are all risk factors for having a heart attack. Age is also a factor, but it varies for men and women. For men, the age is 45 and older. For women, it is 55 and older.
Symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person. Not every person who has one will experience all of the symptoms, nor will they be the same intensity as other people who have had a heart attack. The most common symptom of a heart attack is pain or pressure in the chest. Sometimes, the pain and pressure can radiate into the left arm, jaw, or neck. Nausea, shortness of breath, cold sweats, and fatigue are other common symptoms. These symptoms can occur hours or days before the actual heart attack happens. It is important to speak to a doctor if a person has any of these symptoms and any of the risk factors.
A heart attack is preventable. The easiest way to prevent one is by making healthy lifestyle choices. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the easiest prevention techniques. This table here shows what is a proper weight for gender and height. By maintaining a healthy weight, you also keep your cholesterol at normal levels. As stated earlier, high cholesterol is a risk factor. In order to maintain a healthy weight and keep cholesterol low, exercise needs to be part of your life. Exercise does not mean going to the gym five days a week and lifting weights for an hour. Exercise can be as simple as going for a short walk. Studies have shown that walking for just 30 minutes a day may decrease more than twice the risk of having a heart attack.
A heart attack is a medical emergency. If anyone is experiencing any symptom of a heart attack, call 911. It is better to be safe than sorry.
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