Sudden heart attack

09 November 2019

Sudden heart attack

Sudden death among active individuals may be shocking as heart problems are often associated with certain habits such as not exercising or not having a balanced diet. In fact, heart attacks or cardiovascular diseases can occur if the individual is not concerned about his health including going for regular check-ups.

The three common diseases, namely high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, are the real 'culprits' that lead to heart problems. But unhealthy lifestyles like smoking and factors outside of one’s control such as hereditary also contribute to the problem.

Can an Active Person Have a Heart Attack?

Sunway Medical Centre, Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Mohd Kamal Mohd Arshad, said even active individuals cannot be sure they would not experience a heart attack without the prevention of the cause of the disease.

“Some people exercise regularly but aren’t aware that they have high blood sugar, blood pressure or high cholesterol because they have never been tested. As a result, they have complications, including fatal heart attacks,” he said.

He added that four out of five individuals are unaware they have diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

The symptoms of heart disease include chest pain in either the middle or left chest, where the chest feels heavy as if pressed or grabbed. Other indications include experiencing shortness of breath or breathlessness for more than half an hour as a result of activities such as climbing the stairs or walking, followed by sweating.

What to Do If You or Someone Else May Be Having a Heart Attack?

A heart attack can happen suddenly even when one is resting.

“If you experience chest pain, go to the hospital immediately to get treatment and undergo examination. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish chest pain due to wind from the stomach. If you have chest pain, do not wait because if you are too late in seeking treatment, it would have caused damage to the heart which cannot be reversed,” Dr Mohd Kamal said.

How to Prevent Heart Attack?

He recommends that individuals aged 30 and above to go for check-ups once a year to detect if they have high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Individuals with a family history of heart attack, especially between their parents should also undergo a yearly check-up.

Health checks should include blood tests to detect high cholesterol or sugar levels. Sugar and cholesterol levels of less than three millimoles per liter (mml) can prevent heart attacks, whereas for those who have experienced it, their sugar and cholesterol levels should be below 1.8 mml to avoid the risk of recurrent attacks.

“Heart attack is the number one killer among heart diseases associated with hereditary and unhealthy practices or lifestyles. If the father starts having a heart attack at the age of 55, and if the mother or her sisters have one at the age of 65, anyone among the family are at risk in the future,” Dr Mohd Kamal said.

He added those who have a heart attack at the age of 80 are not of descent but associated with ageing.

Fatty foods can increase cholesterol levels but are mostly caused by the body itself and so far, there are no evidence of supplements sold in the market that can reduce cholesterol. Therefore, eat fresh foods like fish rich in fish oil and Omega 3.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle including reducing sugar, salt, fat and eating moderately can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and heart attacks.

“Additionally, exercising at least 150 minutes a week helps to reduce your risk by 40%, as well as strengthen the heart and improve blood circulation,” Dr Mohd Kamal said.

Those with high cholesterol who have difficulty keeping it down due to genetic factors are advised to take medication to control their cholesterol, in addition to leading a healthy lifestyle.

Source: Berita Harian