Heart disease is the most common cause of death in men above the age of 50 years of age. This is due to a variety of factors that can include:
- unhealthy diet
- family history of heart disease
- sedentary lifestyle
- other medical conditions that can affect the heart function
- infrequent check ups
- high level of cholesterol
Poor eating habits can cause cholesterol to build up in your veins which makes your heart work harder to pump the blood through your veins.
Warning signs of having an unhealthy heart can include chest pains along with many other symptoms.
You can do plenty to get your heart in shape. Healthy changes will help you feel and look better:
- Improve your eating habits
- Stop smoking
- Be more active, and EXERCISE!
- Find quality time to relax away from the work environment
When Should I See a Cardiologist?
Cardiologist consultations are typically recommended by a GP/ primary care physician in response to either heightened risk factors for cardiovascular disease or symptoms that indicate it may already be present.
A strong family history of heart disease, for example, may be the catalyst for an evaluation or for low-level tests to check heart function. If results prove normal, you may continue to be monitored by your primary doctor.
Here are the most common symptoms which cause patients to seek cardiology care:
- Chest pain or discomfort known as angina
- Rhythm disturbances called arrhythmias, which can include palpitations or missed heartbeats
- Shortness of breath, which can indicate congestive heart failure or valve problems
- A cardiac event, such as a heart attack, which requires ongoing cardiology monitoring after the emergency passes
Contact us to make an appointment with one of our cardiologists:
- Dr Abuzeid Gomma
- Dr. Ali Elshamli
- Dr Mohammed Baishoo
WARNING SIGNS AND TIPS FOR PREVENTION
1. What is a heart attack?
A heart attack (also called myocardial infarction) is when part of the heart muscle is damaged or dies because it isn’t receiving enough oxygen. Normally, oxygen is carried to the heart by blood flowing through the arteries that feed the heart muscle (called coronary arteries). Most heart attacks are caused by a blockage in these arteries. Usually the blockage is caused by atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty deposits (called plaque) inside the artery, and hardening of the artery walls. The buildup is like the gunk that builds up in a drainpipe and slows the flow of water.
Heart attacks are also often caused by a blood clot that forms in a coronary artery, blocking blood flow. Clots are especially likely to form where there are plaques that become cracked or damaged in any way.
2. How do I know if I’m having a heart attack?
The pain of a heart attack can feel like bad heartburn. You may also be having a heart attack if you:
- Feel a pressure or crushing pain in your chest, sometimes with sweating, dizziness, nausea or vomiting
- Feel pain that extends from your chest into the jaw, left arm or left shoulder
- Feel tightness in your chest
- Have shortness of breath for more than a couple of seconds
- Feel weak, lightheaded or faint
- Have sudden overwhelming fatigue
Don’t ignore the pain or discomfort. If you think you are having heart problems or a heart attack, get help immediately. The sooner you get treatment, the greater the chance that the doctors can prevent further damage to the heart muscle.
3. Risk factors for a heart attack
- Age Risk increases for men older than 45 years and for women older than 55 years (or after menopause). About 83% of people who die from heart disease are 65 years of age or older.
- High cholesterol level
- High blood pressure
- Family history of heart attack
- Race African Americans, Mexican Americans, Native Americans and native Hawaiians are at greater risk.
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Lack of exercise
- Gender More men have heart attacks, although heart disease is the leading cause of death for women.
4. How can I avoid having a heart attack?
Talk to your family doctor about your specific risk factors (see box above) and how to reduce your risk. Your doctor may tell you to do the following:
- Quit smoking. Your doctor can help you. (If you don’t smoke, don’t start!)
- Eat a healthy diet. Cut back on foods high in saturated fat and sodium (salt) to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. A Mediterranean diet is also a very healthy choice. Ask your doctor about how to improve your diet.
- Control your blood sugar if you have diabetes.
- Exercise. It may sound hard if you haven’t exercised for a while, but try to work up to 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise (that raises your heart rate) 4 to 6 times a week.
- Lose weight if you’re overweight. Your doctor can advise you about the best ways to lose weight.
- Control your blood pressure if you have hypertension.
Talk to your doctor about whether aspirin would help reduce your risk of a heart attack. Aspirin can help keep your blood from forming clots that can eventually block the arteries.