Some heart attack risk factors are common knowledge. Most people know that obesity, diabetes, and hypertension can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Smoking increases your risk as well. The best way to manage heart health is through diet and exercise. Prescription drugs can be used in combination with diet and exercise when necessary too. But there is a third group of heart attack triggers that we don’t hear about all too much. Cleveland Clinic refers to this group as the 4 “Es:” exertion, exposure to the cold, emotion, and eating.
Regular exercise is good for you. But the keyword is regular. Overexertion when you are not fit creates a huge spike of adrenaline through the body that can cause high blood pressure and high heart rate which can induce a heart attack.
Protect yourself: Know your risk factors. Talk to your doctor about your fitness level to see where you are at and where you want to be. Come up with a plan to get you there. Regular exercise protects your heart but you need to gradually increase the intensity of the exercise over time.
Exposure to the cold:
Cold temperatures increase one’s risk for heart attack because they cause the arteries to constrict which can cause a sudden increase in blood pressure. Effects for exposure to the cold combined this with physical exertion could bring about a heart attack. Every year, thousands of people are injured when snow shoveling.
Protect yourself: Talk with your doctor before grabbing that snow shovel. Snow shoveling is an unusual activity. It isn’t something you do all the time. If you’re going to shovel snow, the American Heart Association recommends taking frequent rest breaks and using a small shovel so that you lift less snow at once. Also, skip the heavy meals and alcohol before and after shoveling. Most importantly, however, people should learn to listen to their body’s signals. Getting fit should be a slow and careful process with goals that protect your heart health.
Intense good or bad emotions can be a shock to the electrical impulses of the heart. Intense good or bad emotions are usually brought on by surprising events. These events can increase blood pressure and heart rate which can stimulate a heart attack.
Protect yourself: The next time you feel panicked or suffer a shock, inhale through your nose for a few seconds, then exhale through your mouth until every last bit of air is out of your lungs. Slow your breathing. Repeat until you start to calm down. If you don’t relax, and if you have even the slightest suspicion that you may be having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.
Heavy meals could be acting on the body in a number of ways to trigger a heart attack. Eating and digesting food releases many hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones can increase blood pressure and heart rate triggering a heart attack.
Protect yourself: Moderation is the key. Eat slow. Listen to your body.