What's the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?
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A heart attack describes the obstruction of blood supply to the heart, leaving the vital organ dangerously starved of oxygen. Stabbing pain in the chest and lightheadedness are among the first symptoms reported by sufferers. The condition is heavily interlinked with a host of lifestyle patterns. An often-overlooked risk factor, however, may be personality traits that predispose individuals to unhealthy habits, thereby increasing their risk.
Scientists first came to this finding during a Danish study, conducted on a sample of 941 Dutch subjects.
The researchers found that participants with the highest levels of optimism were 45 percent less likely to die of all causes of mortality, compared to those with the highest levels of pessimism.
Results revealed that individuals in the quartile with the highest optimism score had a death rate of about 30.4 percent.
Participants in the most pessimistic quartile, on the other hand, had a death rate of 56.5 percent.
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These findings were later supported by a University College London stud published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.
This time, researchers focussed more closely on the effect of optimism on recovery from a heart attack.
Interestingly, the study revealed that individuals with higher levels of optimism were more likely to have stopped smoking.
They also appeared to adopt other lifestyle changes, like increasing the intake of their fruits and vegetables.
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The British Heart Foundation noted: “The key message is to seek health from your doctor if you are concerned about your mood, or that of a loved one.
“Depression is common in the general population and even more so in people with physical health concerns.”
It is worth mentioning that while the link between pessimism seems to be related to high levels of other risk factors for heart attack, there may be other components involved.
The BHF added: “When pessimism was associated with symptoms of depression, there was a significant increase in the further serious cardiac events (such as fatal heart attack, cardiac surgery, or readmission with a heart attack) compared to those with an optimistic attitude.
“Furthermore, optimism appeared to protect against depressive symptoms, with fever reporting them in the optimistic group.”
The NHS sees more than 80,000 hospital admissions for heart attacks per year.
The health body launched a campaign earlier this year, in a bid to raise awareness of the early signs of a heart attack.
The survival rate, which averages around seven in 10, rises to nine in 10 for people who receive early hospital treatment.
Making positive lifestyle changes, in the form of healthy nutrition, offers some of the best chances of averting heart disease.
“A low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended, which should include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains,” explains the NHS.
“You should limit the amount of salt you eat to no more than six grams a day as too much salt will increase your blood pressure.”
Coupled with a healthy diet, a regular exercise routine is also important for maintaining a healthy weight.
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