How to protect yourself from a heart attack – the most common cause of death

Around the world, the most common cause of death is heart attack. They claim more than 1.5 million people each year in the U.S. alone! And they strike people primarily at the most productive time of their life, between the age of 35 and 65. The possibility can be reduced by paying close attention to certain risk factors that contribute greatly to the occurrence of attacks.

Following are some of the key risk factors for a heart attack (resulting in immediate or sudden death 50 percent of the time):

Recent studies in Finland showed that single people, and those living alone, have a 60 to 70 percent greater risk of heart attack. In addition, these groups have more than 160 percent greater risk of a related sudden death than those who are married or live with family.

The only risk factor we cannot do anything about is our family history. None of us has the ability to choose our parents or our genes. However, we can take control of the other risk factors with a little effort on our part. Let’s look at these risk factors:

The first one is smoking – simply stop smoking.

Have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol? Visit your doctor at least every three months to make sure these risk factors are under strict control. This will reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack or a related sudden death as much as possible.

Making a lifestyle change to include a healthy diet and daily exercise requires effort and planning. Start this radical lifestyle change today for the sake of being healthy and living a better and more productive life for many years to come.

If you do not have any of these risk factors or do not know your state of health, it’s important to see your doctor at least once a year.

In the meantime, keep an eye open for the symptoms that can be a sign of an imminent heart attack: chest pain, jaw pain, shoulder or arm pain, back pain between the shoulders, feeling of pressure in the chest, difficulty breathing, feeling of indigestion, rapid heartbeat, cold sweats and nausea.

Among the elderly, the symptoms may be unusual and could take the form of dizziness and fainting spells as well.

In summary, if you wish to avoid a heart attack and sudden or immediate death, see your doctor regularly and follow this advice:

1. Avoid smoking.

2. Eat a healthy and balanced diet.

3. Do at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise every day.

4. Consult your doctor about your blood sugar, cholesterol levels and high   blood pressure numbers.

5. Take your medications as prescribed.

6. Stay in close contact with your loved ones.

U.S. News and World Report