3 Lifestyle Changes That Can Lower Your Risk of Cardiac Arrest
Legendary American rock star Tom Petty died Monday night at his home in Malibu, California. Petty had just finished his months-long tour and returned back home when seemingly out of nowhere, his heart stopped. He experienced cardiac arrest, a medical emergency wherein your heart stops beating unexpectedly.
More than 90 percent of cardiac arrest victims die before they even reach the hospital, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine. As was reportedly the case with Petty, it’s because their hearts stop while they're at home or out in the community, where there’s no defibrillator available or someone to immediately perform CPR.
Details are still emerging on the exact circumstances surrounding Petty's death, but we know that more than 350,000 Americans experienced out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in 2016, with just a 12 percent survival rate.
How can you prevent cardiac arrest from happening to you? There are several different reasons why it could happen, but doctors aren’t sure why most cases occur. Aside from getting checked by your doctor, the best way to lower your risk today is to make active changes to your lifestyle, according to Wayne J. Franklin, M.D., associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Here are his suggestions.
1. Get regular exercise
"Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week,” Dr. Franklin said. (For a quick workout regimen that only takes 30 minutes, try out our 21-Day Metashred.)
2. Check your diet
Dr. Franklin's recommendation? "Watch your cholesterol intake." If your cholesterol is high, it can clog your arteries and prevent blood flow to the heart. (If you need some guidance on where to start, here are four foods that can naturally lower your cholesterol.)
3. Avoid drinking and smoking
Drinking and smoking can dramatically increase your blood pressure, which makes you more prone to sudden cardiac arrest since it could thicken your heart muscle. (Here’s how three guys quit smoking for good.)
“Tobacco is an absolute no-no in all forms," Dr. Franklin said. "Smoking and tobacco should be avoided altogether. And then when it comes to alcohol, there’s the caveat of having two glasses of red wine being cardio-protective for some people, but that’s hard to measure in clinical trials.”
Dr. Franklin said men tend to get heart disease earlier than women—the risk goes up at 45, to be exact—so it’s important to start addressing risk factors as soon as possible in order to prevent cardiac arrest from happening to you.
Story Credit: https://www.menshealth.com/health/how-to-prevent-cardiac-arrest-tom-petty