Today is a rather somber day for me.
Forty years ago today my Dad died of a massive heart attack. I was only 15 years old, and at the time, my level of understanding was that a heart attack was just something that happens to an unlucky person.
Well, 40 years later as a Nutritionist, I can see that there were many measures my Dad could have taken to help avoid his fate.
Plus it would have helped for him to have recognized his symptoms as a heart attack, because he did not have the traditional chest pain and pressure!
Here’s what you need to know to help ensure that a heart attack is not in your future, or to take prompt life-saving measures if it does happen to you!
The warning signs
Here are the well-known and not-so-common signs of heart attack in men and women:
- Chest discomfort: Most heart attacks cause discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. Men have described it as uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body: This can affect one or both arms, the back, the neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweats
- Although women can also feel chest discomfort like men, they are far more likely to experience severe shortness of breath.
- Other common symptoms in women include cold sweats, stomach pain, and even fatigue.
- Women are also more likely to feel nauseous and/or vomit.
- Extreme dizziness or lightheadedness are common.
- Sharp arm, back, neck and jaw pain are also more common in women than in men.
Don’t wait—get checked out!
If you even remotely suspect you’re having a heart attack, don’t wait—call 911!
If that is not an option, have someone drive you to the closest ER or call an ambulance.
Also, you can chew and swallow an aspirin, unless you are allergic to aspirin or have been told by your doctor not to take it.
Prevention is crucial!
The best way to ensure your number does not come up in the heart attack lottery is to help prevent one from occurring in the first place!
Here are some ways you can stack the deck in your favor:
Omega-3 essential fatty acids
Omega-3 essential fatty acids have been shown to be an important tool to help prevent heart attacks in these five ways:
1) They've been medically proven to help lower blood pressure. Studies show that daily fish oil supplementation alone can lower your systolic (the top number) pressure by five points or more and your diastolic (the bottom number) pressure by three points or more.
2) They have anti-inflammatory properties, and heart disease is characterized by inflammation in your arteries.
3) Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce dangerous LDL cholesterol.
4) They also help raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.
5) Omega-3 fatty acids help keep blood clots from forming by reducing the stickiness in your platelets and curbing the production of fibrinogens--protein strands that can get tangled up with platelets and result in a clot.
And if you've reached the crucial moment and are having a heart attack, whether or not you survive depends on your heart's reaction. Omega-3 EFAs can help by stabilizing your heartbeat and preventing arrhythmia.
Unfortunately, our diets don’t provide the Omega-3 EFAs that they used to, so the best way to ensure you have heart health-supporting levels of these crucial nutrients is to supplement with a fish oil formula like VitalMega-3.
VitalMega-3 provides a whopping 1,200 mg of pure, pharmaceutical-grade Omega-3 fatty acids in every daily 2-capsule dose, including the Superstars of the Omega-3 fats--EPA and DHA!
Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties that can counteract inflammation in your arteries. It’s also a common deficiency because so many people completely shun the sun, and your body needs sun exposure (and cholesterol!) to manufacture vitamin D.
To ensure you have proper levels of this heart-healthy nutrient, supplementation with a top-notch formula like Optimum D-K Formula with FruiteX-B® is the way to go.
Optimum DK Formula provides a therapeutic 5,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 in every daily dose, plus its partners Vitamin K and the mineral boron that also help support a healthy cardiovascular system!
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
Concentrate on real foods like fresh vegetables, fresh fruit in moderation (1-2 servings a day), meats, poultry, fish, eggs, olive oil, coconut oil and real butter (never, EVER margarine).
And even more important is to avoid refined sugars and starchy carbs, and all processed foods.
Sugars and starchy carbs such as breads, pasta, rice and crackers (even if they’re whole grain) can create surges of glucose in your bloodstream, signaling your pancreas to secrete insulin. Over time this can set the stage for insulin resistance, and high levels of glucose and insulin your blood, which stirs up inflammation.
Many processed foods still contain trans-fats, and even if they don’t, they’re loaded with chemicals and preservatives and are likely made with GMO ingredients to boot.
Lastly, please get the old, tired idea out of your head that ALL saturated fats are bad for you. Your body needs saturated fats, and that includes your heart and nervous system.
Moderation is the key, and that means a 3-4 oz. serving of meat—not a 24-oz. porterhouse.
Get regular exercise
Regular exercise reduces your risk of high blood pressure alone by 30 percent! It also strengthens your heart, increases “good” HDL cholesterol and lowers your triglycerides.
Just be sure to get your doctor’s OK first (trust me, he or she will be thrilled) and GET MOVING!
Do what you need to do to preserve the health of your precious heart! Your loved ones will be forever grateful.
To your health,