Heart Attack or Stroke?
Both conditions are a leading cause of death in the United States. Every minute, someone dies from a heart disease-related event; every 4 minutes, someone dies from a stroke. Knowing the warning signs and symptoms of these potentially fatal conditions are important so you can properly react if it happens to you or someone you know. The chances of survival are much greater when emergency treatment begins quickly.
Please consult your health care professional before making any drastic changes to your diet, especially if you suffer with any chronic ailments or have health concerns that involve diet restrictions.
The most common reason for a heart attack is if there is a blood clot in one of the main arteries. A network of blood vessels known as coronary arteries surround the heart muscle and supply it with oxygen-rich blood. When a coronary artery becomes suddenly blocked and the heart can’t receive adequate blood flow, the muscle becomes damaged, resulting in a heart attack. Here are the signs and symptoms:
- Chest Pain
- Pressure, tightness or heaviness in the chest cavity
- Pain/pressure in the neck, jaw or in one or both arms (usually the left arm)
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or throbbing between the shoulder blades
Like a heart attack, a stroke is also caused by a blood clot that has caused build-up within one of the arteries. This blood clot, however, prevents blood flow from reaching the brain rather than the heart. When the brain doesn’t receive an adequate blood supply, brain cells die, causing permanent damage. A stoke, sometimes known as a “brain attack”, has varying symptoms:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Your chances of experiencing a heart attack or stroke depend partially on genetics. However, there are several preventative measures you can take to keep your arteries healthy. While a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a given, be sure to limit your intake of saturated fats and trans fats. As suggested by Mayo Clinic, you should limit your saturated fat intake to only 10% a day, and cut out trans fats all together. Major sources of saturated and trans fats include:
Sources of Saturated Fats:
- Red meats – beef, pork and lamb
- Dairy products
- Coconut and palm oils
Sources of Trans Fats
- Deep-fried fast foods
- Baked goods
- Packaged snack foods
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, call 9-1-1 immediately. Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, lowering your risk factors and striving for a heart-healthy lifestyle may greatly improve your health.
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Related information: Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened — and has become a powerful voice for brain recovery. Listen to her TED talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight?language=en
Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.
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