Heart attack prevention today consists of eating the right foods, monitoring your cholesterol level, and exercising at least three times a week.
But did you know there are lesser-known risk factors for heart disease you may be unaware of?
We list them below.
Heart Attack: CHIP
CHIP stands for: clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential. This is a mutation of bone marrow stem cells that increases your chances of dying from a heart attack or stroke by a whopping 40 to 50 percent. Diagnosis is by genetic testing and is common in seniors from ages 65 and up.
Researchers believe CHIP develops through a type of white blood cell, that causes inflammation.
Heart Attack: Lipoprotein(A)
Get yourself tested for high levels of a particle called lipoprotein(a), which attaches to your bad cholesterol and acts a just like it. Too much Lp(a), causes heart disease and stroke both by creating plaque that clogs arteries and by boosting clot formation. You can have fine blood pressure and normal cholesterol, but with high Lp(a) you can still get cardiovascular disease. Cardiologists are now testing for Lp(a).
Heart Attack: Sugar
High sugar consumption increases the risk of diabetes, an important risk factor for heart disease. Thirty percent of patients admitted to hospitals for heart attacks are diabetic, with an additional 30 percent considered pre-diabetic. Diet is key; eat healthy fats and cut out the sugar.
Heart Attack: Don’t Stop Aspirin Therapy
Who knew? Getting off the aspirin you were taking to help prevent heart problems can actually give you a heart attack.
According to a major study published in the medical journal Circulation last year, those who stopped taking daily low-dose aspirin were 37 percent more likely to have a the attack or stroke. For all of the study participants, the risk spiked as soon as patients discontinued aspirin and didn’t lessen over time. And for those with previous heart disease, the risk of getting off aspirin was described as “perilous.”
Heart Attack: The Flu
You are six times more likely to have a heart attack the week after you’ve had the flu. The connection between the flu and heart attack is likely increased inflammation. The flu virus increases the likelihood of a blockage that then acts as the trigger. Doctors advise to get the flu shot. It might not be as effective as we want, but it still can provide a level of protection. That could make all the difference.