Heart attack: Experts claim a vegan diet can ‘help prevent’ them
Medically referred to as a myocardial infarction, heart disease is the leading cause of the potentially fatal incident. Are you aware of all the warning signs of a heart attack? The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlight the major warning signs of the condition:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweat
Other signs of a heart attack may include unexplained tiredness, nausea, or vomiting.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) added that some people who are having a heart attack may feel a sudden flush of anxiety, similar to a panic attack.
For some, people may experience excessive coughing or wheezing during the incident.
The BHF clarified: “Heart attack symptoms can persist over days, or they can come on suddenly and unexpectedly.”
As for the NHS, it added that chest pain can be described as “a sensation of pressure, tightness, or squeezing in the centre of the chest”.
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And while chest pain can travel to the jaw, neck, or back, it can also travel from the chest to either arm and/or the abdomen.
People with angina can experience similar symptoms to a heart attack, but it is usually reserved during exercise and passes within a few minutes.
Coronary heart disease
As the leading cause of heart attacks, it’s worthwhile knowing what the condition is.
The NHS explained it’s a condition whereby the coronary arteries – that supply the heart with blood – become clogged with deposits of cholesterol.
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As these clumps of cholesterol embed on the artery wall and hardened, they’re at risk of rupturing.
This rupture can cause a tear in the artery wall, and a blood clot will form to try and heal the area.
However, if the narrow arteries become partially or fully blocked, then blood can’t reach the heart muscle leading to a heart attack.
The risk of developing coronary heart disease increases by:
- A high-fat diet
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Being overweight or obese
There are other causes of a heart attack too, such as drug misuse – notorious culprits include cocaine, amphetamines (speed), and methamphetamines (crystal meth).
Another cause of heart attacks is hypoxia, when the levels of oxygen in the blood decrease due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
How to prevent a heart attack
“Making lifestyle changes is the most effective way to prevent having a heart attack (or having another heart attack),” said the NHS.
The three main steps are:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Do not smoke
- Try to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level
A high-fat diet “will make hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) worse”.
This is because a high-fat diet causes more fatty cholesterol plaques to build up in the arteries.
High-fat foods to avoid
- Fried foods
- Sausages and fatty cuts of meat
- Ghee (a type of butter often used in Indian cooking)
- Hard cheese
- Cakes and biscuits
- Foods that contain coconut or palm oil
Instead, follow a Mediterranean-style diet, eating more fruit, vegetables, and fish.
Use plant cooking oils, such as rapeseed or olive oil, and eat oily fish, such as herring, sardines, and salmon.
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