Heart attacks are caused by a lack of blood reaching the heart.
Without enough blood, the heart could become seriously damaged – and it may even be life-threatening.
A heart attack could also be a symptom of coronary heart disease, which is where fatty deposits build up in the arteries, which limits the amount of blood reaching the heart.
You may be at risk of a deadly heart attack if you have chronic constipation, it’s been revealed.
Chronic constipation, that won’t seem to go away, could be an early indicator of cardiovascular disease, according to Harvard Medical School.
When you’re constipated, you’re more likely to strain while using the toilet, which could raise blood pressure.
High blood pressure subsequently increases your risk of heart disease, and a heart attack is a symptom of heart disease.
There’s no ‘normal’ amount of stools you should be passing, but if you’re going to the toilet fewer times than you’re used to, you may have constipation.
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“About one in five adults copes with a more chronic form of constipation, which is commonly defined as hard, dry, and small bowel movements that are painful or difficult to pass, and often occur less than three times a week,” said the medical school.
“If you’re having a bowel movement only once every four days, you’re probably [although not necessarily] bearing down and straining.
“There’s no question that constipation that requires straining can put the cardiovascular system at risk by raising blood pressure.
“While there’s no clear cause and effect and the risk is likely quite small, the study findings are worth noting, if only as a reminder to avoid excessive straining when you’re on the toilet.”
Constipation is relatively common, and affects people of all ages, said the NHS.
You could be feeling constipated if you haven’t had a poo at least three times in a single week.
If you do have constipation, you can make your poo softer – meaning you’re less likely to strain – by drinking more fluids, or increasing the amount of fibre in your diet.
But, you should speak to a doctor if your symptoms aren’t improving, even after treatment.
More common heart attack symptoms include severe chest pain, having a radiating pain in your arm, and suddenly feeling very dizzy.
But you can lower your risk of a heart attack by making some small diet or lifestyle changes.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet will lower your chances of fatty deposits in your arteries.
If you think you, or someone you know, may be having a heart attack, it’s crucial that you dial 999 straight away.