A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is significantly or completely halted. It is usually caused by a blood clot that forms after plaque in a coronary artery ruptures. Plaque is made up of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fats, and other waste products. When a hard plaque bursts, a blood clot forms quickly. When the blood clot is big enough it disrupts the blood flow to the heart and causes a heart attack.
The common symptoms of a heart attack include feeling pressure, tightness, pain or a squeezing sensation in the chest, arm or shoulder.
Nausea, heartburn, shortness of breath, fatigue and experiencing a lightheadedness are also signs of a heart attack.
The food a person eats is directly involved in many of the risk factors for coronary heart disease. Eating unhealthy foods increases a person’s cholesterol which is linked to heart attacks.
The American Heart Association said on their website: “As your blood cholesterol rises, so does your risk of coronary heart disease.
“When other risk factors are also present, this risk increases even more. What you eat can affect other controllable risk factors, such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and being overweight.”
When it comes to the “most important meal of the day”, many people are skipping breakfast entirely and unwittingly putting themselves at a higher risk of developing a heart attack.
People who never eat breakfast are more likely to be obese and have high cholesterol, which puts them at a greater risk of cardiovascular diseases.
A study looked at people who never ate breakfast compared to those who did and saw a 87 per cent increased risk of death from any cardiovascular disease and a 19 per cent increased risk of death overall for those opting to have no breakfast.
Breakfast skippers had a 59 per cent increased risk of developing heart disease, anymore than triple the risk of having a stroke.
Doctor Wei Bat, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa said: “Many studies have shown that skipping breakfast is related to a higher risk of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. Our study suggests that eating breakfast could be a simple way to promote cardiovascular health.”
A report form the American Heart Association looked at pre-existing studies on skipping breakfast and raising the risk of heart disease. The research was led by experts at Columbia University in New York and found that skipping breakfast was linked to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressures stroke risk and not getting enough vitamins and minerals from the diet.
They concluded that an irregular meal pattern where meals are skipped, most commonly breakfast, may affect risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as type 2 diabetes, raised cholesterol and high blood pressure. Eating breakfast every day could help you to eat healthily the rest of the day.
Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study shows that it’s not only what we eat but also when we eat it that affects our risk of heart disease.
“What we eat is still important, but when we are rushed it can seem simpler to just grab what is available rather than seeking out a healthy choice.
“Taking a few minutes to plan ahead before you do your food shop will help to ensure that you eat regular meals and make nutritious choices throughout the week.”
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