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11 Facts About Heart Attacks

The sudden death of Soprano’s actor James Gandolfini brings light to the harsh reality of heart attacks and how we are all at risk.

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A healthy heart is something we should all strive for regardless of age or gender. Making sure your heart is functioning at its best is important for overall health. Go through this list and see what you can do to decrease your probability of having a heart attack or contracting heart disease.

  1. See Your Doctor: Schedule regular checkups to make sure everything is working properly. You should know what you’re at risk for so you can properly take care of it.
  2. Genetics: Check your family history of any factors that may put you at risk, such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. If anyone in your family has a history of heart issues you could be in harm’s way.
  3. Food: Eating foods low in calories and fat and high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants will keep your blood pressure lower. Make sure you consume a variety of these foods. Don’t always stick to the same ones every day; mix it up! Increase your servings of fruits and vegetables; smoothies and living juices are a great and easy way to do this. Avoid red meats, deep-fried foods, fast food and fattening snacks. Try to eat plenty of these foods: fruits (apples, grapefruit, oranges, blueberries), vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli, corn), whole grains, fish, garlic, nuts, teas, dark chocolate and cacao, turmeric, cinnamon and beans. There are many more foods and recipes that you can research to suit your own tastes.
  4. Diet and Weight: The more body fat you have, especially in the abdomen, the higher the chance you are of having heart issues. This also increases the likelihood of obesity and diabetes. Watch for sodium and sugars added to foods you might not think have high counts of both. Ingredients like this are “hidden” in many foods.
  5. Exercise: Inactivity is something that can and will cause an unhealthy heart. Regular exercise will increase your overall health as well as aid in weight control. Depending on your weight and preexisting conditions, make sure to see your doctor before you start. The best workouts to do are aerobic and cardiovascular. Walking, jogging, cleaning, gardening and biking are good activities to start with if you haven’t been regularly exercising. Try to workout at least 30 minutes a day.
  6. Age: Chances of suffering a heart attack increase with age. Sixty-five is the average age to have a first heart attack. Women who are 55 years of age or older and men who are 45 or older have a greater chance of having a heart attack.
  7. Gender: After menopause, women are more likely to be affected by heart attacks, while men are more at risk and appear to have heart issues earlier in life than women. Women who smoke while taking birth control can be at risk at 35 years or older. Heart disease is the number one killer for women.
  8. Smoking: Smoking automatically puts you in danger of heart attacks. It causes clots and viscous platelets. Protect yourself from secondhand smoke, too. Smoking makes your heart have to work much harder than it needs to, and it damages arteries and vessels.
  9. Alcohol: Alcohol can be good in limited amounts, such as a glass or two of wine a day, because it increases the good cholesterols your body needs. Those that drink heavily are at the most risk for heart attack and disease.
  10. Stress: Keep your stress levels down. Technology is one of those things that we are around all the time now. Step away from the computer, turn off your phone and do something like watching the sunset, listening to music, exercise or meditate. Yoga and meditation are great ways to clear the mind and relax.
  11. Get Sleep: Those that don’t get 7 or more hours of sleep a night instantly have a higher risk of heart disease. Lack of sleep increases stress and blood pressure and can cause blockage of arteries.

We hope this list helps you take some action in maintaining a healthy, happy heart., Fruits and Vegetables, American Heart Association, Retrieved June 20, 2013., Heart Attack, New York Times via the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission, Retrieved June 20, 2013., Heart Disease: Exercise for a Healthy Heart, WebMD, Retrieved June 20, 2013., 20 Foods to Cleanse your Arteries, Trina Remedios, Retrieved June 20, 2013., 12 Tips for Better Heart Health, Denise Mann, Retrieved June 20, 2013.

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