Sometimes, people believe that heart attacks are similar to what they see in the movies, wherein people hold their chest with excruciating pain and then falls. There are many heart attacks that can be symptomatic and can be seen by others, but others are silent. Silent heart attacks are those which erupt immediately without previous signs and symptoms.
According to a report by the World Health Organization, silent heart attacks can be rooted to underlying cardiovascular disease (CVD). Around 17 million people die of CVDs, particularly heart attacks and strokes every year.
Men and women can have silent heart attacks and they are not diagnosed until they begin to have the actual signs and symptoms of heart attack.
According to a study by Dr. Andrew Arai, lead study author and chief of the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Branch in the NHLBI's Division of Intramural Research, entitled, "Prevalence and Prognosis of Unrecognized Myocardial Infarction Determined by Cardiac Magnetic Resonance in Older Adults", MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging shows that more people die from silent heart attacks than non-silent ones.
Furthermore, the study finds that silent heart attacks are also associated with risk factors common in recognized heart attacks.
Good news is, the silent heart attack is a preventable disease just like recognized heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. The key to preventing all these life-threatening conditions is practicing a healthy lifestyle.
A heart-healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent silent heart attacks. Since February is American Heart Month, the American Heart Association strives to educate men and women on the symptoms of silent heart attacks as well as ways to prevent it from happening.
They formulated a plan as easy as 1-2-3 in living a healthy life as early as young adulthood. In that way, they would not develop lifestyle diseases when they move into adulthood. The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have developed national guidelines to help reduce the risk of future heart problems.
First stop; be aware of the treatment plan. The main goal of promoting a healthy heart is to reduce or better yet, eradicate risk factors. Smoking is the first leading cause of preventable death in the United States. It takes out the oxygen needed by the heart to function well hence leading to heart attacks. AHA recommends people who smoke to quit for good.
Next is to control the blood pressure through eating less sodium, losing extra weight and having regular physical activity. The optimal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg and controlling it not to go beyond 140/90 mmHg is ideal.
Furthermore, controlling the blood cholesterol level is also important. Eating lots of saturated fats and transfats can be detrimental to the health. To lower blood cholesterol levels, eating healthily and having regular physical activity is recommended.
Exercising regularly and maintaining an ideal weight is helpful in promoting a healthy heart. The ideal body mass index for adults is from 18.5 to 24.9 and waist circumference of 40 inches in men and 37 inches in women. Subsequently, maintaining a healthy sugar level in the blood is important to prevent diabetes. Diabetes management is important in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.
The next goal is to recognize the signs and symptoms of heart attacks. Being aware of the symptoms of heart attack is helpful to have immediate treatment. Chest discomfort, pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach, shortness of breath and nausea are typical symptoms to look out for.
The last goal is to make sure to get medical help in case symptoms of heart attack emerge. Knowing who to call and your doctor's schedule is important to seek immediate medical help.