Do We Know the State of Our Hearts?

If someone asks us “Do we know the state of our hearts?” automatically, you may go all sentimental. It rarely occurs to us that this may actually be a literal question. Do we really educate ourselves on the state of our heart or wait for emergencies to strike before realizing how vital it is to know your heart state well. If you are like me, you would not think that heart disease is a problem that you or anyone in your family will suffer from. It is common for all of us to look at others with various health problems from far and take for granted that we may not be affected by these problems. Well, guess what? It happened to a good friend of mine recently, or rather, it happened to her husband. He had his first heart attack! and it was a sad but a rude shock to all of us.

Relating her story, my friend recounted how they never thought it would happen to them. “We were always the happy couple who were always having a good time, laughing and enjoying life together,” she told me sadly. But, fortunately, Stephanie, being the brave soul I know, they had rebounded well, and she has certainly put Tim, her husband and herself on the right path to heart health. So, this article is not about how my friend suffered and coped with her husband’s heart attack. It is about being aware of all the heart conditions that are out there and how you, like me, should not think that you are above it. Instead, get to know all there is to know about your heart and conditions that affect it and how you can prevent such illnesses.

With a little bit of research on the net, you will find out that a myriad of things can go wrong with your heart. These range from angina, heart failure, heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms, atrial fibrillation, and congenital heart diseases, etc. Among these, heart failure is one of the biggest problems facing many of us today. This happens when damage occurs to the heart, especially after a heart attack. Heart failure can occur due to high blood pressure if there are problems with your heart valves, various diseases of the heart muscle and excessive alcohol intake. You should consider seeing a doctor if you are short of breath when exercising, have swollen feet and ankles and feel excessively fatigued. This could be a warning sign of heart failure.

Angina is another heart condition that you should be aware of. This heart condition occurs when you have excessive cholesterol or if you are smoking, suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes and are obese. Angina causes pain or discomfort in the chest and usually occurs due to coronary heart disease. This is when your arteries narrow due to a build-up of fatty substances, for instance, cholesterol. If you are feeling tightness or heaviness in the chest and this discomfort spreads to your arms, back, jaw, stomach or neck you could be having angina.

Atrial fibrillation is a major cause for stroke. If you suffer from irregular pulse beats or heartbeats, you should definitely obtain medical advice as this can lead to stroke. If you have heart palpitations, suffer from fatigue, shortness of breath and dizziness this can be due to atrial fibrillation.

These are only a few heart conditions that can affect you, your spouse or loved ones. There are many more that I came across when I started researching on the topic after my friend’s ordeal. One of the first questions that entered my mind, when I was told that Tim had suffered a heart attack was “how”? He was not obese although not fit as a fiddle. The answers to these came when I queried my friend, and she related what the doctor had stated. The basic reason for his heart attack was because he did not take proper care of his health. The doctor claimed that the best way of preventing most heart conditions, apart from the inherited ones, is our choice of lifestyle. According to the doctors, Tim did not exercise enough, did not eat the right foods, and consumed too much alcohol for his age.

So, there you have it. These are common lifestyle errors that we all can relate to easily and what happened to Tim can happen to any of us suddenly. During my research to get myself and my family aware of the state of our hearts, I browsed many websites. All sources I read proved what Tim’s doctors have stated. The best method of preventing various heart conditions is to exercise, eat healthily, stop smoking and reduce alcohol intake. These are basic and simple rules for living a healthy life. Thank god it was not still too late for my friend’s husband. Nor is it for me and my family that have awakened to the risks of heart trouble. So, don’t let it be too late for you or any of your family and friends. Make it your duty to create awareness and prompt them by asking “Do You Really Know the State of Your Heart?” If you convince them, they would most likely start finding out before it’s too late.