Heart Attacks – Their Causes, And What You Can Do To Prevent Them

Heart Attacks – Their Causes, And What You Can Do To Prevent Them
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What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when a blood clot forms and blocks the flow of blood to the heart. If the clot completely blocks blood flow, it can cause the death of part of the heart muscle. This can lead to even more serious problems, like abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) or even cardiac arrest (when the heart stops beating).

What Causes a Heart Attack?

Most often, a heart attack is caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Over time, atherosclerosis causes plaque build-up in the walls of your arteries, which narrows and reduces blood flow over time. When this happens in your coronary arteries (the main vessels that deliver blood to your heart), it’s called coronary artery disease (CAD). It’s also called coronary artery disease when plaque builds up in other arteries throughout your body – like those that feed your brain or legs.

 

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the world. There are many causes of heart disease, but here are some ways you can lower your risk of heart disease:

  • Stop smoking. This is probably the single best thing you can do to improve your health and reduce your risk of a heart attack.
  • Control your blood pressure. High blood pressure puts a strain on your cardiovascular system, so work with your doctor to get it under control.
  • Lower your cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol is bad for your heart and high HDL cholesterol is good for it, so work with your doctor to balance these two numbers.
  • Keep diabetes under control. Diabetes increases your risk of other cardiovascular diseases and makes existing problems worse, so keep it under control by following a healthy diet and exercise routine and working with a doctor if necessary.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A diet high in fruits and vegetables is good for your cardiovascular system as well as many other parts of the body. Avoid foods high in saturated fats such as red meat and dairy products and replace them with fish, poultry, whole grains and unsaturated fats such as olive oil or avocado oil.

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Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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