Written by Deepak Kumar Nayak and Guided by Dr. Anand Agarwal.
Heart diseases are the leading cause of global death and of these deaths, about 86% are due to heart attack and stroke. The most common reason for heart attack is when the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood, which it requires to function efficiently.
Primarily it happens due to blocked coronary arteries. Arteries are blocked by the accumulation of plaques that build up along the inside walls of the arteries, eventually making the arteries narrower and stiffer.
Alcoholism and Cardiovascular Health
Excessive alcohol consumption is a kind of abuse and has a toxic effect on many of your vital organs, including cardiovascular health. It triggers hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and cardiomyopathy (a condition where your heart cannot efficiently pump blood to the rest of your body).
The toxicity of alcohol weakens the heart muscle over time which reduces its blood pumping capacity. When the heart cannot pump the required amount of blood, it expands to hold extra blood by becoming thinner and enlarged. Eventually, the strain causes the blood vessels to stop functioning and leads to death. This is how alcoholism is related to cardiovascular health.
Symptoms of Heart Attack:
In most cases heart attacks are sudden but in some, it’s associated with symptoms. The symptoms can either be mild or severe thereby affecting certain body parts.
In the upper half of your body, symptoms of heart attack can include pain or discomfort in the left or both the arms, the back, shoulder, tightness in the neck region, pain in the jaw and upper abdominal areas.
Chest discomfort is felt in the central area and lasts for a few minutes. It is an uncomfortable squeezing pressure that can also occur repetitively. Chest discomfort in some cases can be followed by shortness of breath.
All these symptoms mostly occur when your body is at rest. Other possible signs that you may notice include dizziness, vomiting, nausea, intense sweating, cold sweat, and light-headedness.
Symptoms: Males vs. Females
The symptoms of heart attack can vary in the case of males and females. Females are likely to experience more noticeable symptoms than men. In the case of women, they experience upper back pain, discomfort in the lower chest or upper abdominal area, fainting, indigestion, heartburn, and extreme fatigue/weakness along with all other symptoms.
Prevent Heart attack in 3 easy steps:
1. Quit smoking and tobacco intake: the chemicals used in cigarettes cause atherosclerosis which makes it more difficult for blood to move through arteries and reach the vital organs like the heart and brain.
2. Exercise for 30mins daily (atleast 5 days a week): Cardiovascular exercises can increase the pumping efficiency of your heart, increase the flexibility of your blood vessels and ensure you a long-term heart-healthy life.
3. Eat a heart-healthy diet: Obesity and cholesterol are the leading risk factors for heart attacks. Eating foods rich in fibre and low in cholesterol can help prevent obesity. Minimizing salt intake in your diet can also lower your blood pressure.
Introducing healthy lifestyle changes is the most effective way to prevent having a heart attack. In case of any discomfort, immediately connect to a cardiologist for a best and quick consultation.