When it comes to heart attacks, everybody knows they’re bad and we doubt anybody particularly wants one. However, as is often the case with medical emergencies, heart attacks often have a way of popping up unannounced.
Fortunately, a new study that was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Imaging, researchers believe they may have found a new predictor for heart attacks – calcium.
Perhaps we should be more specific, for the researchers found a way to measure the calcium build up in a person’s arteries in order to predict their risk of a heart attack. However, this is where it gets interesting: while those who had no visible calcium build up in their coronary arteries showed a lower risk of future heart attacks, their risk declined regardless of documented high-risk factors like bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
The study examined the CT scans of the chest and heart of 6,184 people between the age of 45 and 84 years, all of which had never suffered a heart attack before. The results showed that those with no signs of calcium in the arteries had a less than 3 percent chance of experience a cardiovascular episode over the next decade.
These results were startling and have caused many doctors to suggest that a CT scan for calcium should be worthwhile when discussing treatment options with patients. However, you are not helpless in preventing this buildup from happening yourself. For as most of us know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and when it comes to heart health, often the best thing you can do is change your diet.
Oats – Most people know oats are healthy, but what they don’t know is that oats contain a fiber that binds to bile acids, which are made from cholesterol. As such, eating a diet that includes oats can help to reduce the chances of blockage as well as lower cholesterol.
Green Leafy Vegetables – These tasty emerald treats are jammed packed with antioxidants that can help lower cholesterol and, in turn, prevent blockages.
Berries – Most berries are powerful antioxidants that help to not only lower blood pressure but also boost HDL cholesterol, otherwise known as the “good cholesterol”.
Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, the list goes on, but when it comes to your heart health, choosing the right nuts can have a bit impact. Not only are nuts high in unsaturated fats, but they also naturally help to reduce the inflammation of the arteries.