Preventing a Heart Attack (Source: Raffles Hospital)
Heart attacks come without warning and strike with deadly force. Whilst the spectrum of treatment modalities has improved over the years, they can sometimes be available too late. Prevention is the greatest cure for heart attacks and you should start today.
Be mindful of your diet and your weight
Watch what you eat. You should cut down on the fatty, cholesterol enriched foods and sugar. Eat balanced meals with lots of fruit and vegetables. Drink water instead of sugared drinks. Start on an exercise routine that is easy to maintain. Control your weight through proper nutrition and exercise. Spare your heart the extra load.
If you are a non-smoker, don't start. If you are a smoker, try to kick this habit. You will do better without it.
Be more active
Put more zest into your life and more spring into your steps. Walk more. Use the stairs instead of taking the lifts. Try going to work on public transport and walking instead of driving once in a while.
Manage your stress; don't let stress manage you
There are many ways to cope with stress in your life. Learn to manage your time more efficiently and take control of stress instead of letting stress take control of you.
Keep blood pressure, blood cholesterol and diabetes under control
If you are already suffering from hypertension, high cholesterol or diabetes, follow the advice of your doctors and take your medications as prescribed. Go for your regular check-ups and follow your doctor's recommendations faithfully.
Check Early to Save Your Life
Don't put yourself at unnecessary risks. The following tests are conditions that are risk factors for coronary heart disease. You should consider doing these tests on a regular basis. They are simple to do and may save your life.
Have your blood pressure checked by your doctor at least once a year.
Do a blood cholesterol test at least once in every 5 years, or more frequently if you have a high cholesterol level. Review the results with your doctor and listen to his advice.
Have your blood glucose checked at least once a year for diabetes. Diabetes can also be screened for by doing a simple urine dipstick test.
If you are particularly at risk of coronary heart disease, you should follow-up with your doctor regularly. Your doctor may advise you to do an ECG (electro-cardiogram) to assess the status of your heart. In some instances, you may need to do an exercise treadmill test to determine the fitness of your cardio-respiratory system.
Remember, early detection of heart disease allows for early treatment, and early treatment could well prolong your life.
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