Heart attack: Lead an anti-inflammatory lifestyle to minimise your risk

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Dr Erin Michos, an associate director of preventive cardiology for the Ciccarone Centre said: “We all should be making an effort to reduce chronic inflammation in our bodies.” The doctor explained that “inflammation irritates blood vessels” and “promotes the growth of plaques” and can trigger “blood clots”. When a blood clot blocks an artery to the heart, the muscle is starved of oxygen and nutrients, causing it to die – i.e. a heart attack occurs.

A clinical trial investigated the effects of an injectable anti-inflammatory drug in people who already had a heart attack.

The CANTOS study proved targeting inflammation reduced the likelihood of subsequent heart attacks.

It also decreased the need for angioplasty and bypass surgery by 30 percent.

Leading an anti-inflammatory lifestyle can dramatically reduce the risk of having a heart attack – and prevention is better than cure.

Dr Michos added: “You can control inflammation by avoiding factors that activate your body’s inflammatory response.

“And, these same lifestyle choices decrease bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure and reduce high blood sugar, too.”

One such measure is to not smoke cigarettes of any kind, as it damages blood vessels and promotes atherosclerosis.

“By quitting, you can cut your heart disease risk in half,” attested John Hopkins Medicine.

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It’s also important to “maintain a healthy weight” as obesity increases your risk of various disease.

Carrying excess fat around the belly is a red flag you’re at risk of heart disease, the leading cause of a heart attack.

A round, protruding belly is also indicative of too much visceral fat, which causes inflammation in the body.

This is why it’s key to “increase activity” if you want to lower your chances of having a heart attack.

John Hopkins Medicine said moving your body for at least 20 minutes daily can decrease inflammation in the body.

Any workout that causes your heart rate to increase and to cause you to feel warmer is effective, such as brisk walking, jogging or cycling.

One final factor to help lead an anti-inflammatory lifestyle is to eat a “heart-healthy diet”.

This involves eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and fatty fish.

It also means staying away from processed and fast foods, such as:

  • Bacon
  • Sausages
  • Salami

Chronic inflammation doesn’t cause physical symptoms, until it’s too late, such as a heart attack.

However, a blood test specifically asked to screen for inflammation can reveal if you need to improve your lifestyle.

This request will need to be made by you to your doctor, otherwise it might be missed out on a routine blood test.

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