Heart problems have been a concern in American society for decades now. Many scientists and researchers are looking to find new ways to prevent both strokes and heart attacks from occurring. A group of researchers at Stanford University found that providing cardiology care for AFIB patients at an early age decreased the chance of a stroke rather than providing the care at a later age. This is mainly due to the fact that doctors can prescribe anticoagulants, or blood thinners. These blood thinners reduce the body’s chance of forming blood clots, potentially leading to a stroke in the future.
As we all know, the heart is supposed to beat in consistent heart rhythms, keeping us alive by managing blood flow throughout the body. However, sometimes this rhythm can be thrown off as we age, possibly due to other underlying problems that haven’t been diagnosed. This ultimately causes an irregular heartbeat, also known as atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a fairly common problem in America with more that 200,000 cases diagnosed per year in the U.S. alone. Also known as A-fib, this condition occurs when there is an irregular heartbeat and the heart is out of sync. As a result of the heart beating chaotically, there is poor blood flow throughout the body. A-fib can also be known as arrhythmia. In the medical field, there are two types of arrhythmia: tachycardia and bradycardia. Tachycardia is an excessive heart rate that exceeds 100 beats per minute while bradycardia is a condition when the heart is lower than 60 beats per minute. As you may have guessed, strokes and death decreased when the A-fib patients went to a cardiologists. The decline of strokes and deaths can also be attributed to the anticoagulants that the cardiologists prescribed the patients. This is one of the main reasons that early care is so important!
As previously stated, it’s best if heart complications are diagnosed relatively early. Symptoms of dangerous heart conditions include muscle failure, chest pain, numbness of the face, and many more. These conditions can be caused by many things including high blood pressure, smoking, degenerative stress, diabetes, and genetics. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to see a doctor or your family physician as soon as possible. If it is in fact a heart condition, your doctor will most likely send you to a cardiologist. The cardiologist will then determine which medical option suits you best for your type of condition.
Even though we can’t pick our genetics, we can certainly reduce the risk of developing irregular heart beats that will lead to strokes in the future. In fact, a lot of these are simple lifestyle changes that you and I can implement immediately. The most important lifestyle change would have to be diet, for we are what we eat. High cholesterol foods like burgers and fries should be avoided as much as possible. Instead, go with a heart healthy option like some blueberries or salmon. Cardiovascular exercise and proactive cardiovascular risk assessments have also been shown to reduce strokes. You should make it a daily goal to exercise at least 30 minutes a day with cardio being your go to exercise. Cardio has also been shown to keep the pounds off, another condition associated with strokes. Also, avoid smoking at all costs as this not only affects the heart but dramatically increases your chances of developing lung cancer. In the end, decrease stress in your life as much as possible. This can be as simple as meditating once a day. In the end, strokes can be prevented. Implementing these lifestyle changes can be the best choice you can make. However, if you ever do find yourself experiencing these signs, receive medical attention immediately. The earlier you get treated, the better off you’ll be.