Risk Factors of Heart Attack
A heart attack occurs when the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is abruptly blocked. Heart attacks occur suddenly. They usually are a result of a morbidity that has existed for a long time. Due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles, the incidences of heart attacks have increased. The following are the various risk factors that could lead to a heart attack:
- Stress: Stress could lead to elevated levels of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline with could lead to heart disease. Stress also can change the way in which blood clots and therefore increase the risk of having a heart attack.
- Atrial fibrillation: Also known as Afib, is a type of cardiac arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, where the heart’s upper chambers (or atria), beat irregularly and can disrupt the normal blood flow of the heart by not allowing complete blood flow to the lower chambers of the heart. Afib can cause major complications, such as blood clot, ischemic stroke (oxygen-depriving), and heart failure.
- A sedentary lifestyle: An inactive lifestyle could lead to obesity and high cholesterol levels, which could increase the risk of having a heart attack.
- High blood pressure: The pressure of blood in the arteries and veins of the circulatory system increases with high blood pressure. This makes the pumping of blood difficult for the heart, and therefore, can lead to heart attack.
- High blood cholesterol levels: Too much ‘bad’ cholesterol can narrow the arteries, which can increase the risk of having a heart attack.
- Smoking: Smoking can damage the lining of the arteries, which could lead to heart attack.
- Obesity: Excess body fat can put extra strain on your heart muscle and this could increase the risk of heart attack.
- Alcoholism: Alcohol consumption in excess amount can raise blood pressure levels which could lead to a heart attack.
- Usage of illegal drugs: Stimulant drugs like amphetamines or cocaine can spasm the arteries and cause a heart attack.
- Autoimmune conditions: Conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can harm the arteries and the heart, leading to an increased risk of having a heart attack.
- Preeclampsia: A condition in which blood pressure is elevated during pregnancy, preeclampsia can lead to heart attack.
- Diabetes: As the body does not have enough sugar-breaking insulin when it suffers from diabetes, excess sugar remains in the blood and this leads to an increased risk of having a heart attack.
- Family history: Coronary artery diseases and high blood pressure run in families, and therefore having a family history of these type of diseases could increase the risk of having a heart attack.
- Age: Men over the age of 45 and women over the age of 55 are at higher risk of having a heart attack.
Nowadays, younger people are also suffering from heart attacks. This is mainly due to unhealthy eating and a lack of physical activity. Many of the risk factors of heart attack can be attended to. Keeping a tab on blood pressure, managing stress, having a healthy diet and exercising regularly can reduce the risk of heart attack.
If a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) should occur, call 9-1-1 and start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately. If an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is onsite, use it as soon as possible. If you are not alone, ask a bystander to call 9-1-1 while you start CPR right away.