Important Steps to Increase Chances of Surviving a Heart Attack

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Baptist Health Madisonville: Important Steps to Increase Chances of Surviving a Heart Attack

You can take steps to reduce your risk of having a heart attack. Checking for high blood pressure or high cholesterol, eating a healthy diet, and exercising daily can help prevent heart disease. Learn how Baptist Health treats heart blockages and how you can play a proactive role in your heart health.

Important Steps to Increase Chances of Surviving a Heart Attack HealthTalks Transcript

George Vettiankal, MD
When you have a heart attack, what is happening is, in the heart, there are three main arteries. One of those arteries is completely blocked, causing disruption of the blood flow to the heart muscle, causing the muscle to die.

When somebody comes with a heart attack, when they come to the emergency room, time is the most important thing. You try to take that patient immediately to the cath lab. You find the artery, which is blocked, and open it. The shorter the time it takes to restore blood flow to the heart muscle, it saves the patient from developing congestive heart failure in the future and increases survival.

People who are genetically predisposed to a heart attack have to look at the risk factors. They need to check their cholesterol. If it is high, they need to get it lower. People who have risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, tobacco use, if they change those risk factors, that decreases their risk of heart attack. People who smoke, when they quit smoking, that drops their risk by about 50 percent. People who change their diet — eating more healthy foods, lean meat compared to red meat, less fried food, more vegetables — and also increase their activity — exercising at least 20-30 minutes daily — will help decrease their risk of a heart attack.