Lifestyle and dietary changes play a major role in preventing heart attacks. Fatty foods tend to build-up and clog arteries (plaque). This is further exacerbated by lack of physical activity. It is important to incorporate an hour of moderate intensity exercise per day in any form -- aerobics, dancing, walking, strength training, says Dr Narayan Gadkar, Cardiologist, Zen Multispecialty Hospital.
Dr Gadkar points out that maintaining a healthy body weight is mandatory, as central obesity (fat around the abdomen) is a common concern in our country. While sudden attacks and cardiac arrests cannot be prevented, it is our duty to ensure that we follow a disciplined lifestyle to reduce our risk of suffering.
Dr Gadkar adds that common signs of a heart attack include discomfort, pressure, or pain in the chest, arm, back, neck, jaw, or stomach. One may also experience shortness of breath, sudden nausea or vomiting, light headedness or dizziness and unusual fatigue. These symptoms may be immediate and intense.
However, in many cases, these symptoms may begin, at times days to weeks, before an actual attack. The intensity of the symptoms may be not high. Therefore, they tend to be overlooked as one may consider that the problems arising could be a result of stress or physical exertion.
Heart attack is known as a myocardial infarction (MI) that causes damage to portions of muscles of the heart, which receive inadequate blood supply. Generally, this happens due to blockage of one or more arteries supplying the heart. Oxygenation of the muscles is prevented, which subsequently leads to damage. Consider that if the block in the artery is resolved, as sometimes observed in cases of small clots, the muscles recover.
However, longer the time taken to restore blood supply more the damage as the muscles do not receive the necessary nutrients to function. This would mean that over time the heart muscles weaken and will not be able to bear the daily demands. Thus, delaying treatment or being unaware of the condition leads to greater damage. However, unlike sudden cardiac arrest, during a heart attack, the heart does not stop beating.