Heart attack symptoms: The subtle sign in your leg that could signal you’re at risk

Heart attacks happen when the blood supply to the heart is suddenly interrupted. Without this supply, heart muscles may be damaged and begin to die. Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of heart attacks.

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Coronary heart disease is a condition whereby coronary arteries (the major blood vessels that supply the heart with blood) become clogged with deposits of cholesterol, a waxy substance found in your blood.

The heart condition often produces symptoms when the blood vessels in parts of certain parts of your body become narrowed by a buildup of these fatty plaques, explains Mayo Clinic.

As the health body explains, pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms may signal cardiovascular problems.

  • Other warning signs include
  • Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back

How to reduce your risk of a heart attack

The key to staving off the risk of a heart attack is to prevent fatty plaques from building up in your arteries.

The surest way to prevent this from happening is to curb unhealthy eating habits.

The NHS explains: “Eating an unhealthy diet that is high in fat will make hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) worse and increase your risk of a heart attack.”

Continuing to eat high-fat foods will cause more fatty plaques to build up in your arteries, the health body notes.

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This is because fatty foods contain an unhealthy type of cholesterol called LDL cholesterol.

LDL cholesterol is known as the “bad” cholesterol because it can block your arteries.

To prevent LDL cholesterol levels from building up, it is imperative to shun foods high in saturated fat, advises the NHS.

These include:

  • Pies
  • Fried foods
  • Sausages and fatty cuts of meat
  • Butter
  • Ghee (a type of butter often used in Indian cooking)
  • Lard
  • Cream
  • Hard cheese
  • Cakes and biscuits
  • Foods that contain coconut or palm oil

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In addition to avoiding the above foods, certain items have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol while increasing your HDL cholesterol levels.

HDL cholesterol is branded the “good” cholesterol because it picks up harmful cholesterol from your arteries and transports it to your liver where it is removed from your body.

Almonds have proven to be particularly adept at this process.

In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers compared the levels and function of HDL cholesterol in people who ate almonds every day, to the HDL levels and function of the same group of people when they ate a muffin instead.

The researchers found that while participants were on the almond diet, their HDL levels and functionality improved.

Almonds can also be enjoyed as part of a Mediterranean-style diet.

This means eating more bread, fruit, vegetables and fish, and less meat.

According to the NHS, this diet is low in saturated fat so it’s a suitable choice for reducing heart attack risk.

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