By: on In Highlights

How serious are heart attacks?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Heart attacks affect roughly 1.5 million people each year. About one-third of the people that suffer a heart attack die from it.

In the United States, over two thousand people die every day from a heart attack. Even those who survive a heart attack may not do so unscathed.

After suffering a heart attack, many people experience excessive fatigue, physical limitations and depression. After a person has a heart attack, their odds of having another are drastically increased. When an artery becomes blocked, the heart is deprived of blood. This deprivation causes portions of the heart muscle to die. Even after receiving medical care, the sections of dead tissue cannot be fixed. The dead sections turn to scar tissue, and those affected areas never function as well as they did prior to the heart attack.

This weakened state is to blame for your increased likelihood of having another heart attack.

When a person has a heart attack, the most important thing is prompt medical treatment. Roughly 90% of heart attack victims survive in cases where they received treatment soon enough. The problem with seeking immediate treatment is the lack of warning associated with heart attacks. While there are certain telltale warning signs of an impending heart attack, it is possible to have a heart attack without having displayed any symptoms at all. Most people who are at risk for heart disease are unaware of that fact. This is why it is so important to check cholesterol levels and blood pressure regularly. Similar to a heart attack, both of these conditions have few symptoms, if any, and as such often go unnoticed.

In adults, it is estimated that 1 out of every 5 deaths is caused by a heart attack. For a condition with a 90% chance of survival, that number is staggering. There is no shortage of preventative measures to help reduce the risk of having a heart attack. While some risk factors are out of our control, such as family history and age, most of the risk factors for heart disease and heart attacks are lifestyle related.

If we are to have any chance of reducing the number of deaths caused by heart attacks, the first step is to know what to do. Simple habits, like walking for 30 minutes 3 times a week, can go far in living a heart healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity encourages healthy cardiovascular activity and helps to maintain a healthy weight.

Obesity and diabetes are two of the greatest contributing factors to heart attacks, both of which can be managed through exercise and diet. Watching what you eat is important for the same reasons. Animal byproducts high in cholesterol should be eaten in moderation, and cholesterol levels should be checked every few years. Smoking should be avoided at all costs, and alcohol should be consumed in moderation. These simple changes promote heart health and could significantly reduce the amount of heart attacks per year.