Heart Attacks: Prevention

What is a heart attack?
This is a serious condition that occurs when part of the heart has its blood supply reduced or cut off, thus depriving the heart of oxygen. This causes damage, leaving scar tissue. The scar tissue no longer contracts or contributes to the pumping action.

What causes a heart attack?
A heart attack happens when there is a blockage in one or more of the arteries supplying blood to the heart (the coronary arteries). The blockage may be caused by a blood clot or by fatty deposits.

What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
* Chest pain described as a powerful squeezing or dense, heavy pressure.
* Jaw pain.
* Arm pain (more commonly the left arm, but it may be either).
* Nausea.
* Shortness of breath.
* Sweating

How can I prevent a heart attack?
There is no guarantee that you can prevent a heart attack, but you may increase your chances of living free from heart disease by making the following life style changes:

* Physical activity: seek to increase the amount of physical activity that you do, e.g. walking, swimming, cycling and dancing.

* Diet and nutrition. Increase the amount of fruit, vegetables, brown rice, pasta and wholemeal bread that you eat. Increase the amount of chicken and fish that you eat. Check for the levels of salt, sugar and fat in purchased foods.

* Keep a check on your weight.

* If you smoke, give it up!

* Bring your intake of alcohol within the recommended guidelines.

* Relaxation. Learn to develop periods of calm in your day between physical and mental activity. This might mean finding out about local meditation classes, receiving massage or other form of complementary treatment from a suitably qualified practitioner.

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