How To Predict If You'll Have A Heart Attack

Many people fear being blindsided by a heart attack. But a medical test can help prevent it before it ever happens.

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Every weekday, we make sense of the confusing world of wellness by analyzing the headlines, simplifying the latest research, and offering quick tips designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Stat of the week

  • The heart attack test

  • The depression (reducing) diet?

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Stat of the Week: 1,000

Earlier this week, we discussed Arnold’s goal of walking more. If he struggles, we might tell him to drink an extra cup of coffee. 

Research suggests that coffee drinkers take an average of 1,000 more steps per day than non-coffee drinkers. 

This could be one reason why many studies associated coffee with longevity. On average, adding 1,000 steps per day is associated with up to a 15 percent increase in longevity.

The Heart Attack Test 

No one likes tests, but we’re confident this is one exam you probably don’t want to skip.

The Coronary Calcium Score (CAC) can help you spot the signs of heart disease before it’s too late.

The CAC has changed preventative cardiology by quantifying calcium build-up in coronary arteries, says cardiologist Dr. Danielle Belardo. This calcium is indicative of plaque build-up and can help determine your risk for a future cardiovascular event, such as heart attack or stroke.

Research suggests that more than 80 percent of heart disease is entirely preventable—as long as you take the steps for early detection and prevention. But we were shocked by how most people (including us) don’t know about this exam. Unlike other scans, the CAC is noninvasive (no IV contrast), uses low radiation (similar to a mammogram), and provides insights you can’t get with blood tests.

According to Dr. Belardo, the CAC is a crystal ball, offering a glimpse into your cardiovascular future. If you want a screening Calcium Score completed, discuss getting a test with your healthcare provider. Depending on your age, personal medical history, family history, and other variables, your physician will help you decide whether or not a CAC scan would be a valuable test for you.

If nothing else, it can give you peace of mind or help you make simple daily adjustments to your activity and diet that could save your life. 

The Depression (Reducing) Diet?

First, exercise was linked to mental health benefits, and now, a popular eating style is flexing its mood-boosting muscles. 

Recent research suggests that a Mediterranean-style diet can help reduce symptoms of depression. The impact was so significant that in some cases, participants were classified as having their depression in remission. 

The scientists analyzed more than 1,500 people with depressive symptoms that ranged from moderate to severe. The meta-analysis of five studies examined interventions lasting anywhere from six to 48 weeks. 

Some scientists speculate that a Mediterranean diet might improve gut bacteria that send chemical signals to your brain. By reducing “bad” bacteria and increasing “good” bacteria, a Mediterranean diet could tip the balance of signals sent to the brain in a way that reduces depression. 

Before we jump the gun, there’s not enough evidence to suggest a Mediterranean-style diet prevents or cures depression. However, in the fight against depressive symptoms, every little behavioral advantage helps. 

The Mediterranean diet generally emphasizes whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, olive oil, and seafood, includes moderate amounts of poultry and low-fat dairy, and limits refined sugar, butter, and processed meat. If you want to try it, check out this post for a full Mediterranean Diet shopping list. 

That’s it for this week! Thanks for being a part of the positive corner of the internet. We hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel.

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell