We have all seen heart attacks countless times in Hollywood movies, someone suddenly and intensely clutches their chest and then they fall over. We think that these are the universal events that happen during a heart attack, yet this is pretty far from the truth. Heart attacks occur when the flow of oxygen rich blood is blocked in one area of the heart. When this happens the part of the heart that is not getting blood begins to die. Nearly all heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease which is the buildup of plaque in the arteries of the heart. Truth is, symptoms of a heart attack may be mild and they might go unnoticed. Below you will find common risk factors associated with heart attacks as well as symptoms.
Heart attack risk factors
- Age – men 45 and older, women 55 and older are at higher risk
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history
- Lack of physical activity
- Drug use
Symptoms of a heart attack
- Pain or tightness in the chest, squeezing, pressure, as well as discomfort may also come and go
- Pain in the upper body
- Stomach pain
- Feeling of shortness of breath
- Felling lightheaded
- Vomiting or nausea
Women are more likely to have pain elsewhere, it could be in the neck, back or jaw, often time chest pain my not even occur. Women may also experience heartburn like symptoms as well as unexplained fatigue that last for days. Knowing the risk factors, as well as the signs and symptoms of a heart attack may save a life. Heart attacks are not like what we see in the movies, they are very serious and require immediate medical attention.
Feature photo by Alan Levine
In recent years, studies have found a strong connection between our emotions and heart health. Research suggests that laughter can protect your heart by decreasing stress hormones, thereby reducing inflammation in your arteries. These changes appear similar to the benefits of aerobic exercise and cholesterol-lowering drugs.
In short, laughter is a powerful remedy for stress, pain and conflict. Nothing works faster than a good laugh to bring your mind and body back into balance.
Make it part of your everyday life
Make laughter one of your daily heart-healthy activities. It’s as important as being physically active and eating healthy foods. Here are some ideas:
- Watch a funny movie or TV show.
- Ready the funny pages.
- Share a good joke or a funny story.
- Play with a pet.
- Goof around with your children.
- Do something silly.
- Seek out funny people.
- Look for the humor in everyday situations.
- Host a game night with friends.
- Go to a comedy club.
- Check out your bookstore’s humor section.
- Plan fun activities, like bowling, miniature golf or karaoke.
By making humor a regular part of your life, you can have a big impact on your heart health.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Feature photo by Kellinahandbasket
February is healthy heart month! The heart, it is an amazing machine, it does so much yet so many know so little about their most vital organ. Here are 15 amazing facts about the heart. Keep it healthy!
- Exercise is one of the most beneficial ways you can keep your heart healthy
- Women’s hearts beat faster than men’s, by about 8 beats
- Heart cancer is rare because the heart cells stop dividing early in life
- The heart pumps 1.5 gallons of blood every minute
- Your heart is about as big as your hands clasped together
- Your heart beats about 100,000 times in a day
- Your heart valve is about the size of a half dollar
- The heart is located in the middle of the chest
- A heart weighs about as much as a soda
- In a day the heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles
- When you are at rest it take 16 seconds for blood to reach your toes and then make it back to your heart
- The heart can beat outside of the body as long as it is supplied with oxygen
- The heart pumps blood to almost all the cells in the body, except the corneas in your eyes
- The heart is the hardest working organ
- There are 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body
Did you know your heart was so important? It is crucial to keep your heart healthy and happy. In return you will find that you are healthy and happy as well.
Trivia- Can you name the four chambers of the heart? Let us know in the comments below.
Feature photo by emdot
The most common signs of a heart attack are:
- Pain or discomfort in the center of the chest – like pressure, squeezing, fullness, heartburn or indigestion.
- Upper body pain or discomfort – in one or both arms, the back, shoulders, neck, jaw or upper stomach.
- Shortness of breath – may be the only symptom.
Less typical symptoms include breaking out in a cold sweat, feeling unusually tired, nausea or vomiting, light-headedness or sudden dizziness.
Every minute counts
If you think you or another person might be having a heart attack, don’t ignore it or feel embarrassed. Call for help! Dial 9-1-1 even if you’re not sure the symptoms mean a heart attack. Here’s why:
- Acting fast can save your or someone else’s life.
- Ambulance personnel can start life-saving measures right away.
- People who arrive at a hospital by ambulance often receive faster treatment.
If you can’t reach 9-1-1, have someone else drive you to the hospital right away. The sooner you get to the emergency room, the better your chance of survival. Prompt medical treatment can also reduce the damage to your heart.
Sources: Cleveland Clinic, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and National Library of Medicine
Feature photo by Nicholas Raymond