Heart attackAlso known as Myocardial Infarction and MI
Myocardial infarction, commonly known as heart attack, occurs when blood flow to a part of the heart stops, causing damage to the heart muscle.
The heart muscles need oxygen to survive. When the blood supply carrying the oxygen to the heart muscles is blocked due to the buildup of plaque (fatty substances) within the arteries, it leads to damage of the muscles. If the blood flow to the heart is not restored quickly it can cause permanent damage to the muscles, leading to a heart attack.
Myocardial infarction is one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide. The symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain, discomfort in the back, sweating, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath. In case of a suspected heart attack, the person should be given aspirin and rushed to a hospital immediately. One should not wait for symptoms to settle. The earlier the person is rushed to the hospital, the better are the chances of survival.
A heart attack can be treated with medications and in some cases, surgery might be required. The chances of a second heart attack can be prevented with simple lifestyle modifications, regular check-ups and medications.
- Adults above 60 years of age
- Both men and women
- Blood vessels
- Aortic dissection
- Acute gastritis
- Acute cholecystitis
- Pulmonary embolism
- Angina pectoris
- Non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI)
- ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI)
- Pulmonary embolism
- Lipid Profile Test
- C-reactive protein (CRP) test
- Cardiac troponins (I and T)
- Creatine kinase (CK)
- Creatine kinase-MB (CKMB)
- Electrocardiogram (EKG / ECG)
- Holter monitoring or ambulatory ECG or ambulatory EKG
- Echocardiogram (Echo)
- Stress test
- Carotid ultrasound
- Tilt table tests
- MRI of the heart
- Coronary angiography
- Cardiac CT Scan
- Cardiac catheterization
- Radionuclide ventriculography or radionuclide angiography (MUGA Scan)
- Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE)
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
- Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)
- Myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) test
- Thrombolytic drugs: Streptokinase, Alteplase & Urokinase
- Anticoagulants: Apixaban, Dabigatran & Heparin
- Antiplatelet agent: Aspirin, Clopidogrel & Prasugrel
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors: Fosinopril, Captopril & Enalapril
- Angiotensin receptor blockers: Telmisartan, Losartan & Valsartan
- Beta blockers: Atenolol, Metoprolol & Propranolol
- Combined alpha and beta blockers: Carvedilol & Labetalol
- Statins (cholesterol lowering agents): Atorvastatin, Lovastatin & Rosuvastatin
- Diuretics: Hydrochlorothiazide, Chlorthalidone & Furosemide
- Vasodilators: Hydralazine & Minoxidil
- Surgery: Percutaneous coronary intervention, Bypass surgery & Atherectomy
- Implantable medical devices: Pacemaker, Implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICDs) & Ventricular assist devices (VADs)
- Other surgeries: Cardiomyoplasty & Heart transplant
- Thoracic surgeon
- Cardiac surgeon
- Interventional Cardiologist
- Vascular surgeon
Symptoms Of Heart Attack
Most people don’t know they have heart disease until they have chest pain (angina) or a heart attack. Angina (chest pain) is one of the warning signs of a heart attack which can occur hours, days or weeks before an attack and hence, should not be ignored. However, not all heart attacks begin with a sudden crushing chest pain as we might have heard about. In fact, the symptoms of a heart attack vary from person to person. The other common symptoms of a heart attack include:
Discomfort or pain in the left shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back
Shortness of breath
If you or anyone experiences chest pain/discomfort or other symptoms of a heart attack rush to a hospital immediately. Consult a doctor even if you feel a mild pain or discomfort in the chest as it might indicate that your heart is in trouble and need help.
How to differentiate between chest pain due to gastric pain and heart attack? To know this, watch a video by our expert.
Causes Of Heart Attack
A heart attack happens when there is a sudden and complete or partial blockage of the artery that supplies blood to the heart. Mostly, coronary artery disease is the underlying cause of a heart attack in which the coronary artery (the blood vessel that supplies blood to the heart) is blocked. The longer the blockage is left untreated, the more is the damage to the heart muscle. If the blood flow is not restored on time, it can lead to permanent damage of the heart muscle. Some of the common causes of a heart attack or myocardial infarction include:
Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery embolism
Hypoxia (low level of oxygen in the body)
Risk Factors For Heart Attack
Age and family history are one of the key non-modifiable factors which can increase the risk of heart attack. However, there are certain modifiable causes of heart attack which can help you prevent and lower your risk of heart attack if known.
1. High blood pressure
Some of the modifiable risk factors of a heart attack are:
High blood pressure puts excess strain on the blood vessels which over time causes constriction of the blood vessels. This impacts the blood flow to the heart and increases the risk of heart attacks. The damage increases further due to the buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances in the coronary arteries.
If your blood glucose levels are not under control, it can cause inflammation of these blood vessels, which further affects the blood flow through these vessels. As the blood flow becomes sluggish, over time it can damage the heart muscle and increase the risk of a heart attack.
Are your blood glucose levels under control? Check it now!
If excess cholesterol gets deposited in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, it is a cause of concern. This overtime can block the blood flow to the heart either partially or completely, which in turn, causes a heart attack.Get your cholesterol level checked with a single click.
When you smoke, you inhale various harmful chemicals present in cigarettes. These toxins can cause inflammation of the blood vessels, which in turn triggers the accumulation of various substances in the blood such as cholesterol, and calcium. These substances get deposited in the blood vessels, which can block the blood flow to the heart and cause a heart attack.
Planning to quit smoking? Let us help with our quit-smoking range.
5. Excessive alcohol
When you drink in excess, it causes dehydration which in turn impacts the blood flow to the heart and other organs. Moreover, alcohol can also lead to inflammation in the blood vessels, which in the long run can cause the deposition of cholesterol and calcium in the blood which makes you prone to a heart attack.
Chronic stress causes secretion of cortisol, which can significantly impact the hormonal balance in the body and lead to excess production of cholesterol which in turn may cause a heart attack.
7. Lack of exercise
People who lead a sedentary lifestyle not only become overweight and obese but are also at high risk of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, which are known risk factors of a heart attack.
Diagnosis Of Heart Attack
If you experience pain in the chest or discomfort, then your doctor might advise some blood and imaging tests to determine the underlying cause.
A. Lab tests
Some of the commonly advised lab tests include:
1. Lipid Profile Test
This is a group of blood tests that detects the levels of different types of lipids in the blood. Lipids are fatty substances that play an important role in a number of body functions. Apart from being structural components of the cells, lipids also act as a source and mode of storage of energy for the body.
It typically measures the levels of total cholesterol, High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides. Other results that may be reported include Very-Low-Density Lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio.
2. C-reactive protein (CRP) test
C-reactive Protein (CRP) is a protein secreted by the liver in response to inflammation caused by injury, infection, or otherwise. The C-reactive protein (Quantitative) test measures the levels of C-reactive protein in blood to determine the presence of inflammation or infection and to monitor treatment.
3. Cardiac troponins (I and T)
Troponins are proteins which are found in the heart muscles and skeletal muscle fibres. These are known to help regulate muscular contraction. This test helps measure the level of cardiac-specific troponin in the blood thereby helping in the diagnosis of any heart injury or damage.
4. Creatine kinase (CK)
Also known as Total CK, Creatine Phosphokinase, and CPK test, this test is done to detect and monitor damage to muscle. It is also done to diagnose conditions which are associated with muscle damage and to detect any possible case of heart attack.
A more specific test known as Creatine Kinase-MB (CKMB) is also recommended.This test measures the enzyme Creatine Kinase (CK) MB, which is mainly found in cells of heart muscles, in blood. It is also found in skeletal muscles but in a lesser amount.
This assay is useful for assessing muscle damage from any cause. Elevated myoglobin levels are seen in cases of acute muscle injury, resuscitation, myopathies, shock & strenuous body activity.
B. Imaging & other tests
In addition to the blood work, some of the other tests that can help in the diagnosis of myocardial infarction or a blockage in the heart include:
1. Electrocardiogram (EKG / ECG): This resting 12 lead ECG test is the first-line diagnostic tool for the diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome (ACS). It should be obtained within 10 minutes of the patient’s arrival in the emergency department. Acute MI is often associated with dynamic changes in the ECG waveform. Serial ECG monitoring can provide important clues to the diagnosis if the initial EKG is non-diagnostic at initial presentation.
2. Holter monitoring or ambulatory ECG or ambulatory EKG: A holter monitor is a small, wearable device that keeps track of your heart rhythm. This monitoring is used to diagnose intermittent cardiac arrhythmias.
3. Echocardiography: A cardiac echo is used to identify abnormalities in the heart's structure and function.
4. Stress test:This test involves measuring the performance of the heart while undergoing exercise of gradually increasing intensity on a treadmill.
5. Carotid ultrasound: A carotid ultrasound is an important test that can detect narrowing, or stenosis of the carotid arteries. Carotid artery stenosis is a major risk factor for stroke.
6. Tilt table test: The tilt table test (also called a passive head-up tilt test or head upright tilt test) records your blood pressure, heart rhythm and heart rate on a beat-by-beat basis
7. MRI of the heart: A heart MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses magnets and radio waves to create an image of your heart and nearby blood vessels.
8. Cardiac CT: The Computed Tomography (CT) Scan of heart is an imaging test which is used to create a detailed three dimensional image of the heart and coronary blood vessels and helps to assess the condition of the blood vessels and understand blood flow through them and help to diagnose various heart diseases.
9. Coronary angiography: A coronary angiogram is a procedure that uses X-ray imaging to check the heart's blood vessels.
10. Cardiac catheterization: Cardiac catheterization (cardiac cath or heart cath) is a procedure to examine the working of the heart. A thin, hollow tube called a catheter is inserted into a large blood vessel that leads to your heart to find out the origin of disease of the heart muscle, valves or coronary (heart) arteries.
11. Radionuclide ventriculography or radionuclide angiography (MUGA Scan): A radionuclide angiogram is a test used to gather images of the heart throughout its pumping cycle it is also referred to as a MUGA scan (multigated acquisition scan) or blood pool scan.
12. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE): TEE is a test that produces pictures of the heart. TEE uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to make detailed pictures of your heart and the arteries surrounding it.
C. Nuclear heart scans
Similar to angiography, these scans use a radioactive dye injected into your blood. What sets them apart from an angiogram is that they use computer-enhanced methods like computed tomography (CT) or positron emission tomography (PET) scans.
1. Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: This test uses radioactive dyes to produce pictures of the heart. PET scans differentiate between healthy and damaged heart muscles.
2. Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT): A SPECT scan uses radioactive tracers that are injected into blood to produce pictures of the heart to check how well blood is flowing to the heart.
3. Myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) test: This test shows how well blood flows through your heart muscle. It also helps to show areas of the heart muscle that aren’t getting enough blood.
Prevention Of Heart Attack
1. Do not ignore symptoms of heart disease
The most common symptom is a chest pain (angina) which originates in the center of the chest area, behind the breastbone, is typical of a heart attack. Moreover, a chest pain which occurs after walking some distance which was not experienced initially can also indicate a heart attack. Other common symptoms include shortness of breath, sweating, and pain or discomfort in the jaw, arms, and shoulder. So if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is recommended to immediately go to a hospital or consult a doctor at the earliest.
2. Go for regular health check-ups
Diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol level are one of the key factors that put you at risk of heart disease. This is the reason why every person who suffers from high blood glucose level, high blood pressure and high cholesterol level should get a regular health check-up done every year. It goes without saying that the frequency to get a health check-up increases as you age and for people with a family history of heart disease.
Ideally, it is better to get a heart checkup done once you cross 45 years of age, but with increasing incidence in young people (above 30 years), even young adults should get a health check-up every year without fail.
3. Do not self medicate
Popping a painkiller is one of the most common ways to treat pain at home. However, using these medicines more often than not is not a good idea as it might lead to health complications and side-effects. Studies have reported that long-term opioid therapy can increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases, especially myocardial infarction.
Self-medication without consulting your doctor is not at all recommended as it might lead to harmful side-effects. Your doctor will weigh the pros and cons of the medication based on your overall health and condition. So think twice before you blindly take any medication without informing your doctor as it might affect you later. It is not advised to consult a chemist or self-medicate for any heart disease.
4. Maintain a good relationship with your family doctor
One of the key reasons why most patients fail to consult a doctor and search the internet for information pertaining to their condition is the lack of a good relationship between their family doctor. Most people do not feel comfortable to ask their doctor about problems that affect them on a day to day basis, which according to them are silly things. Even to know why a particular medication is recommended to them, they will go online but not ask their doctor because it is a silly reason to ask. This is not right. Be open to your family physician and discuss your health in detail, who will guide you in the right direction.
5. Exercise is the key to keep your heart healthy
Most of us have a very tight schedule which makes it difficult to spend the time exercising. Although people are turning out to be health conscious and hitting the gym to burn calories and stay fit, it becomes difficult to exercise regularly. But if you are at risk of heart disease or are planning to keep your heart healthy, ensure you lead an active lifestyle. This doesn’t include exercising day in and out but ensuring you workout daily or at least walk every day is enough. You can walk for 30 – 45 minutes for five days a week or walk 10,000 steps a day to stay healthy.
6. Diet for healthy heart
A healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber, and fats can help you keep your heart healthy.
Whole grains: Whole grains, vegetables, and fruits are considered to be one of the great natural sources of fiber. They contain soluble fibrous phytosterols which not only decreases the absorption of fat and sugar in the small intestine but also helps to lower the level of triglycerides in the blood. Good sources of soluble fiber are oats, barley, legumes, and psyllium husks.
Fruits: Fruits and vegetables contain high levels of antioxidants that protect the circulating cholesterol from oxidation which can cause free radical generation. These free radicals can negatively affect the overall health and increase the level of cholesterol in the blood, thereby offering an overall protective effect for the heart. Eat more vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and celery as well as potatoes with skin.
Fish: According to the American Heart Association, eating two servings of fatty fish per week is good for the heart. Include fatty fish rich in omega-3 fats such as salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel and tuna in the diet to improve your triglyceride levels and keep cholesterol in control.
Garlic: Garlic not only lowered triglyceride levels but it also reduced total cholesterol levels. Moreover, it also helps to regulate glucose homeostasis and insulin secretion aiding to keep your blood glucose levels in check along with triglycerides.
Nuts: Nuts are undoubtedly one of the best sources of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and unsaturated fats, all of which are heart-healthy nutrients. As these are obtained from trees, they are rich in plant fats, sterols, and nutrients which are good for overall health.
If you have already suffered a heart attack or have undergone heart surgery, it goes without saying that strict diet control is needed. Here is a sample Indian diet chart for heart patients by an expert nutritionist.
Specialist To Visit
The symptoms of heart attack should never be ignored. The signs and symptoms that indicate urgent medical attention include:
- Chest discomfort (lasts few minutes or goes away and comes back)
- Discomfort in arms/neck/back/jaw/stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling nauseated/lightheadedness
If you experience any signs and symptoms of a heart attack, it is best to consult a doctor immediately. Although a general physician (Family Doctor) is the first choice, you can also get in touch with specialists such as a:
Other specialists that can also be consulted (if you have a pre-existing or chronic illness) include:
Treatment Of Heart Attack
Depending on the condition and the extent of the block, your doctor might advise medications or recommend surgery.
Heart attack treatment involves a variety of drugs. Your doctor will recommend the best combination of heart attack medications for your situation. Some of the common drugs include:
1. Thrombolytic drugs
Thrombolytic or clot-busting medications are intravenous (IV) medications that cause blood clots to break down and dissolve. These medications are usually used only within the first 12 hours after a heart attack. Examples of this class of drugs include:
Anticoagulants, commonly known as blood thinners, are chemical substances that prevent or reduce coagulation of blood, prolonging the clotting time. Examples of this class of drugs include:
3. Antiplatelet agent
Antiplatelet agents are medicines that reduce the ability of platelets to stick together (called platelet aggregation) and inhibit the formation of blood clots. These are also known as platelet agglutination inhibitors or platelet aggregation inhibitors. Drugs that belong to this class are:
4. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
These inhibit the angiotensin-converting enzyme which regulates salt and water retention in the body. They also lower blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels, decreasing blood volume and increasing sodium excretion in the urine. ACE inhibitors are recommended in patients with systolic left ventricular dysfunction, or heart failure, hypertension, or diabetes. A few examples in this class of drugs are:
5. Angiotensin receptor blockers
If you are unable to tolerate ACE inhibitors, ARBs are used. They block angiotensin-II (a hormone which causes your blood vessel to constrict) from binding to its receptor and antagonize its action. This helps reduce your blood pressure. Some examples in this class of drugs are:
6. Beta blockers
Beta-blockers are recommended in patients with LVEF (left ventricular ejection fraction) less than 40% if no other contraindications are present. Examples of some of the drugs in this class are:
7. Combined alpha and beta blockers
This type of heart disease medication helps lower blood pressure. It does this by slowing your heart rate and reducing nerve impulses that tell vessels to tighten. Examples of combined alpha- and beta-blockers include
8. Calcium channel blockers
They bind to calcium channels in the blood vessels and block the entry of calcium. This causes dilatation of the blood vessels which helps decrease blood pressure. Some of the commonly used calcium channel blockers include
9. Statins (cholesterol lowering agents)
It works by reducing the amount of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and raising the amount of “good” cholesterol (HDL) in your blood. Statins block the enzyme in the liver that is responsible for making cholesterol. Lowering the amount of cholesterol reduces the chances of heart diseases and helps you remain healthier for longer. Some of the commonly prescribed cholesterol lowering medications include:
Diuretics like hydrochlorothiazide eliminate excess salt and water from the body and also decrease calcium excretion. There are different types of diuretics that act at different sites of the renal tubules (small tubes) in the nephrons (functional unit of kidney). A few types of diuretics used in the treatment of hypertension are
It helps to lower blood pressure by widening the blood vessels and decreasing their resistance thereby helping the blood to pass through more easily. Hydralazine and minoxidil are vasodilators that work directly on the vessel walls to decrease blood pressure. Nitroglycerin which is used to relieve chest pain is a powerful vasodilator.
1. Percutaneous coronary intervention
Also known as coronary angioplasty, it is a nonsurgical procedure that improves blood flow to your heart. This procedure uses a catheter-based device inserted into a major blood vessel (usually one near your upper thigh).
Once the catheter is inserted into the blood vessel through a small incision, the technician threads it up to the blocked artery on your heart. Once it reaches the location of the blockage, the technician will inflate a small balloon on the end of the device to widen the blood vessel and clear the blockage. Angioplasty is often combined with the placement of a small wire mesh tube called a stent. The stent helps prop the artery open, decreasing its chance of narrowing again. Most stents are coated with medication to help keep the artery open (drug-eluting stents).
2. Bypass surgery
In this, a surgeon takes a section of healthy blood vessels, often from inside the chest wall or from the lower leg, and attaches the ends above and below the blocked artery so that blood flow is redirected around the narrowed part of the diseased artery. With a new pathway, blood flow to the heart muscle improves. Patients who have severe blockages of their coronary arteries undergo coronary artery bypass grafting. This surgery is often called open-heart surgery, bypass surgery or CAB. This is useful in treating blocked heart arteries by creating new passages for blood to flow to your heart muscle.
It is similar to angioplasty except that the catheter has a rotating shaver on its tip to cut away plaque from the artery. Once the catheter is inserted into the blood vessel through a small incision, the provider threads it up to the blocked artery on your heart. Once it reaches the location of the blockage, the provider will inflate a small balloon on the end of the device to widen the blood vessel and clear the blockage.
4. Implantable medical devices
These include pacemaker and implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) which help to control the heart rhythm and ventricular assist devices which support the heart and blood circulation.
Pacemaker: It is a small battery-operated device which helps your heart to beat in a regular pattern.
Implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICDs): It is a small battery-powered device placed in your chest to detect and stop abnormal heartbeats. This device delivers electric shocks inside the heart to restore a normal heart rhythm.
Ventricular assist devices (VADs): This is also known as a mechanical circulatory support device, which is an implantable mechanical pump that helps pump blood from the lower chambers of your heart (the ventricles) to the rest of your body.
5. Other surgeries
Cardiomyoplasty: An experimental procedure in which healthy skeletal muscles are taken from a patient’s back or abdomen and wrapped around the heart to provide support for the failing heart.
Radiofrequency ablation: A catheter with an electrode at its tip is guided through the veins to the heart muscle to carefully create tiny scars in the heart to block abnormal electrical signals and correct heart arrhythmias.
Transmyocardial revascularization (TMR): A laser is used to create a series of channels from the outside of the heart into the heart’s pumping chamber.
Heart transplant: In this procedure a diseased heart is removed and replaced with a donated healthy human heart.
Home Care For Heart Attack
Do’s and Don’ts when you suspect a heart attack
What should you do when you suspect that you or anyone in your family is having a heart attack? The first thing to do is seek medical help immediately. In the absence of medical aid, the following tips may help you:
1. Know the symptoms
At times, chest pain is absent in certain cases of a heart attack, known as a ‘Silent Heart Attack’.
In this case, pay attention to the associated symptoms that you feel such as long deep breathing, dizziness, nausea, anxiety or a panic attack.
You might be able to identify a heart attack just because of the vague discomfort that you are going through at that moment.
2. Act fast
Most attacks are not very rapid and give us enough time to act. Therefore, it is necessary to have complete knowledge about a heart attack and ability to act quickly.
People often confuse a heart attack with other diseases like indigestion, flu or panic attack.
However, if you are not sure of what exactly is happening to you, it is best to seek help immediately.
3. Know which medicine to take
Pop in an aspirin if you feel you are having a heart attack. Most people feel better after chewing a tablet of aspirin at the beginning of a heart attack.
However, aspirin may be harmful to some. Hence, please ask your physician in advance the most appropriate medicine for you in case of a heart attack.
4. Seek immediate help
Shout for help immediately. Do not feel shy or scared to make someone call for medical assistance immediately.
If immediate help cannot be attained, then ask for someone, like a person next to you or a relative/friend, to take you to the nearest hospital.
During this time, any kind of activity will cause more harm to the already damaged heart muscles. Stop whatever you are doing and just sit or lie down calmly and ask to be taken to a hospital.
Do not travel alone or drive on your own to a clinic/hospital.
In addition to taking medications as recommended by your doctor, there are few things you need to take into consideration to keep your heart healthy. These include:
1. Incorporate more fiber in your diet
Include foods such as whole wheat grains or cereals, peas, pulses, fruits such as oranges, pears, melons and vegetables such as carrots and broccoli. There is more fiber in a single fruit than a glass of fruit juice which is made using 3 – 4 whole fruits.
2. Limit fruits especially if you are diabetic
Choose whole fruits and vegetables to up your intake of fiber and other nutrients. But, fruit should be limited, especially for people who are diabetic. Incorporate berries, oranges, sweet limes, apple and pear which contain less sugar and more fiber.
3. Salads are a must in every meal
Vegetables are a great source of nutrients and including raw vegetables in the form of salad is a healthy idea. One big bowl of salad that contains vegetables and sprouts is mandatory for a complete meal. Sprouts are rich in proteins and fiber so two servings per day is a must.
4. Add fenugreek (methi) seeds to your food
It is a rich source of soluble fiber and contains active compounds which reduce cholesterol and are good for the heart. Moreover, if you suffer from diabetes along with heart problems, incorporating methi in the form of raw seeds in curries, dal or curd can keep the heart healthy.
5. Restrict intake of salt
For healthy individuals, the daily recommended dose of salt is 5-6 gm per day. But if you have a history of heart disease or have undergone heart surgery, then the daily intake of salt should not exceed 2 gm, which is about half a teaspoon.
6. Choose cooking oils wisely
Opt for the ones that contain high amounts of essential fatty acids such as monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Most of the oils available in the market such as groundnut oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, mustard oil, sesame oil, rice bran oil, etc. are good for the heart. However, instead of using one type of cooking oil, use different oils every month for added benefits.
7. Keep a tab on the amount of cooking oil
Whichever cooking oil you are using, it is important to keep a tab on the amount. Ensure that it should not be more than 15 ml per day, which is about three teaspoons of oil. You can also incorporate ghee along with cooking oils but make sure it should not exceed the daily limit of 15 ml. For example, instead of three teaspoons of oil, you can include one teaspoon of ghee and two teaspoons of oil per day.
8. Follow portion control
Whatever you eat, spread it across the entire day and eat in limited amounts. Eating three full course meals can add pressure on the stomach and other organs of the body including the heart. It is wise to have six small meals per day or have two meals with breaks such as breakfast, mid-morning snack, mid-afternoon snack, and evening snack. Moreover, dinner should be light and easy-to-digest food. Avoid heavy foods and gas-forming foods such as beans, cauliflower, etc at dinner time.
9. Nuts are good for the heart
They are the best and rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is an essential fatty acid that plays a key role in maintaining your heart health. It helps to maintain blood pressure, lower triglyceride level, reduce cholesterol, lower the risk of inflammation and prevent heart disease. Almonds are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and walnuts in poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), both of which are good for the heart.
10. Snack wisely
Include light foods such as boiled corn, puffed rice (kurmura) or bhel, sprouts chaat, vegetable chaat or boiled corn chaat. Packaged foods are a strict no-no for heart patients. Freshly cooked homemade food is your best bet. Fruits should be eaten as a mid-morning snack. Avoid fruits after lunch and dinner.
Is it angina, heartburn or heart attack? know the difference!
Complications Of Heart Attack
If left ignored or unattended, myocardial infarction can cause severe damage to the heart. Some of the health complications that may result due to a heart attack include:
Alternative Therapies Of Heart Attack
There are no studies which highlight the significance of ayurveda or homeopathy remedies for heart attack. However, there are few lifestyle modifications and yoga asanas which are known to improve your heart health.
Yoga asanas for healthy heart
Cardio and weight training work to revive up your heart rate and build muscle mass. However, yoga, as a complementary practice, can assist in preventing or managing heart disease. A combination of adequate weight training, aerobics and yoga can work wonders in improving heart health
Yoga asanas that can help maintain your heart health include
Padangusthasana (big toe pose): Known to be a good pose to stretch all the muscles in the body, this asana stimulates the abdominal organs and heart and also slows down the heart rate.
Janu sirsasana A: This asana stretches the entire back of the body. As the heart is brought close to gravity, the heart rate becomes slower and calmer. It is also known to calm the mind and relax all the major organs of the body.
Utthita hastapadasana (extended hands and feet pose): This pose focuses on breathing and posture and also helps calm the mind. It helps in lowering the heart rate, promoting blood circulation and improving the all-round functioning of the heart.
Setu bandha sarvangasana (Bridge Pose): This pose facilitates deep breathing, deeply opens up the chest and improves blood flow to the chest region. It also improves blood circulation to the heart region and helps control blood pressure.
Living With Heart Attack
On an average, about a fourth of heart attack victims who survived the first year are likely to experience another within the next four to six years.
Some of the easy, yet suggestively consistent, steps to prevent a second heart attack and lead a lifestyle are:
1. Follow healthy and a balanced diet routine
Simple dietary modifications like less intake of cholesterol-rich foods, especially trans fat and saturated fat, added sugars, salt and caffeine that can harm the general well being of a person. Instead, an increased intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and beans can be beneficial. Also, it is good to supplement the diet with Omega-3 fatty acids that are helpful for the metabolism.
2. Daily exercise and walk
Regular and mild exercising routine boosts up the body metabolism, maintains a healthy heart and boosts the general mood of a person.
3. Quit smoking and drinking
Smoking is known to cause heavy damage to the normal rhythm of the heart and its arteries. Cutting down on smoking reduces the risk of a second heart attack by about 50%.
Drinking, on the other hand, poses no threat when done in permissible limits. However, beyond the recommended dose, alcohol may raise the blood pressure; thereby increasing the chances of a heart attack.
4. Regular and routine health checkups
It is good to stick to the suggested medications by the practitioner after the first incidence of heart attack. Also, following timely checks and follow-ups are equally important. Do not stop or alter the medications without your doctor’s advice.
5. Lead a healthy psychosocial life
Socialize, discuss your problems with concerned persons, get adequate sleep, consult professionals in case of need, limit emotional involvement with anyone, and join a laughter club. All these activities will help you lead a stress-free happy life.
Frequently Asked Questions
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- Thygesen K, Alpert JS, Jaffe AS, et al. Fourth Universal Definition of Myocardial Infarction (2018). Circulation. 2018 Nov 13;138(20):e618-e651.
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