Can You Stop a Heart Attack?

posted by Korey Ebel on Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How could you possibly stop a heart attack?  I mean, if you’re going to have a heart attack, you’re going to have a heart attack right?  There’s no stopping that.  Or is there? 

The answer is definitely “yes,” you can stop a heart attack from occurring.  But there are a few things you are going to need to do before you can stop it. 

First of all, have you seen your doctor lately or had a yearly physical?  What do your lab values tell you?   If you haven’t, this is step 1.  Schedule an appointment.  Find out your numbers, what’s your blood pressure?  What are your cholesterol numbers?  Are your lab values where they need to be?  There are simple screenings that can be done to give you a pretty good indication of your risk.  You take your car in for maintenance, why wouldn’t you take yourself to the doctor for a check-up.  Know your numbers. 

Next, what does your diet look like?  Pretty much all of us could improve our diet in some way.  I’m not talking about cleaning out the cupboards and only eating fruits and vegetables, but how about trying to make a few more healthy choices.  Ditch the soda for some water.  Do you really need that bowl of ice cream before bed?  The drive thru is convenient, but probably not the best choice.  A healthy nutritional balance in food choices can go a long way in improving your health. 

Get enough sleep and reduce stress in your life.  Studies have shown that inadequate sleep can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease.  The amount of sleep that a person needs varies from one person to another, but on average most adults need about seven to eight hours of sleep each night to feel alert and well rested.  Having too much stress for too long is bad for your heart.  Stress can cause high blood pressure.  Often times it’s the unhealthy ways which we respond to stress that cause the problems – such as smoking, poor eating habits, not enough sleep, or not exercising. 

Most importantly, do you exercise?  No, I mean actually exercise on purpose three or more times each week.  If not, it’s time to start.  The American Heart Association recommends that you exercise at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week.  That’s roughly only 20 minutes a day. 

Exercise is the best single medical prescription your doctor could prescribe you.  Instead of taking pills, exercise will actually do something to deal with the underlying disease as opposed to treat the symptoms.  Do you think those pills actually do anything to deal with why your cholesterol or blood pressure is high?  No, they just change the test results.  The reason the numbers are high is still there.  So get moving, start slowly, and gradually increase the time and intensity.  This is the biggest factor to decreasing your risk for a heart attack.

Heart disease is the leading killer of men and women in the US.  A heart attack occurs about every 20 seconds and a fatality from a heart attack occurs about every minute.  Costs related to heart attacks exceed 60 billion dollars per year. (That gym membership doesn’t seem so expensive now, does it?)

You can stop a heart attack. Don’t wait; start today.

About The Author

Korey Ebel

Korey Ebel, an exercise specialist, works with people enrolled in Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation services. Korey earned a degree from the University of South Dakota in health, physical education and recreation. He designs programs based on individual ability and needs, with focus on lea ... read more