A man clenching his chest in pain (Photo from Shutterstock.com)

“Can I prevent a heart attack?”

By Jessica Mcclennen

“He who has health, has hope;
and he who has hope, has everything.”

Conditions you can manage is one thing. But conditions that take your life in an instance is something you might not live to recover from.

When the heart fails

Heart attacks are the 2nd most fatal killer in Singapore.

When we think of heart attacks, we think of sudden tightness in the chest, breathing difficulty before we slip into an eternity of darkness. But truth is, there are usually warning signs. Perhaps we are ill-equipped to recognize and react to signs of a heart attack but it is nonetheless good to know.

Heart attacks occur when the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart become blocked. When our blood vessels fail to supply blood to our hearts, you know the science – our heart fails due to a lack of oxygen. Before this happens, you are likely to feel tightness in the chest, and possibly in the jaw, left shoulder or arm.

Then comes the heart attack.

During the attack, you may perspire and feel breathless, and your hands and feet might feel clammy.

If the warning signs are clear, you should head to the hospital straight away. Dial 995 for an ambulance or ask someone to drive you to the nearest emergency department. Never ever underestimate the severity of a heart attack.

Are you at risk?

Heart attacks are something that become more likely to occur to you as you age. But ageing is a natural process, and not something we can control, just like how heart attacks occur to men more than to women, or if you’ve got a family history of heart failure before 50 years of age.

Outside the factors that are beyond our palm of control, if you are a smoker or obese, suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, then you should be extra careful. No medical condition should be undermined. So if you’ve been diagnosed with any condition, be it high blood pressure or high cholesterol or diabetes, it is best to consult a doctor and keep the condition under control.

The aforementioned are all the factors that would make you vulnerable to a heart attack. And the risk increases if you display more factors so be extra careful.

Preventing a heart attack

“Prevention is better than cure.”

And that’s fully possible.

You know the drill: eat healthily, exercise regularly (remember to include a balance of cardio and strength training!), and go for a check-up early if you are no longer young or if you suffer from any of the risk factors.

You probably didn’t know there are treatments to actually prevent a heart attack. Well, here’s the good news: minimally invasive treatments for heart problems are available. That means no need to go under the knife, and have doctors cut open your chest to see what’s under.

The sooner you identify your heart disease risks, the easier it is to treat your condition and manage your risk of a heart attack.

That’s the way your heart will continue to beat strongly and well into old age.