5 Ways To Prevent a Heart Attack WITHOUT Medicine

Heart disease (HD) is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.  In fact, HEART DISEASE kills many more people each year than all types of CANCER COMBINED!  That’s why many of us who treat HD refer to it as “CANCER OF THE ARTERIES”.

While HD may be the leading cause of death for both men and women, that doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your fate. Although you may lack the power to change some risk factors—such as family history or age (You can’t pick your parents or your age!!)—there are some key heart disease prevention steps you can take.

1. Don’t smoke or use tobacco products

Prevent a Heart Attack by Quitting Smoking

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Smoking or using other tobacco products is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe. Smokeless tobacco and low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes are also risky, as is exposure to secondhand smoke.  The nicotine in cigarette smoke makes your heart work harder by narrowing your blood vessels and increasing your heart rate and blood pressure.  This forces your heart to work harder to supply enough oxygen to your body.  Even “social smoking” is dangerous and increases the risk of heart disease.

Women who smoke and take birth control pills are at significantly increased risk of having heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots, than are those who don’t do either. Worse, this risk increases with age, especially over age 35.

The good news, though, is that when you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease drops dramatically within just one year. And no matter how long or how much you smoked, you’ll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.

2. Daily physical activity significantly reduces risk!

Regularly participating in moderately vigorous physical activity can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease. And when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater.

Physical activity helps you control your weight and can reduce your chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on your heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. It also reduces stress, which has also been shown to be a factor in developing heart disease.  Guidelines recommend that you get at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity every day of the week. However, even shorter amounts of exercise offer heart benefits, so if you can’t meet those guidelines don’t give up.

Also remember that things like gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog are all activities that, if done with enough pace, can contribute to your cardiovascular health. You don’t have to exercise strenuously to achieve benefits, but you can see greater benefits by increasing the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts.

3. Eat a heart-healthy diet

Eating a special diet called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan also can help protect your heart. Following the DASH diet means eating foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products that can help protect your heart. Legumes, low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.  Limiting certain fats you eat also is important.  Saturated fat and trans fat increase the risk of coronary artery disease by raising blood cholesterol levels. Major sources of saturated fat include beef, butter, cheese, milk, and coconut and palm oils.

Heart-healthy eating isn’t only about cutting back, though. Most people, for instance, need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet — with a goal of five to 10 servings a day. Eating that many fruits and vegetables can not only help prevent heart disease but also may help prevent cancer.

4. Maintain a healthy weight

As you put on weight in adulthood, your weight gain is mostly fat rather than muscle. This excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

One way to see if your weight is healthy is to calculate your body mass index (BMI), which considers your height and weight in determining whether you have a healthy or unhealthy percentage of body fat.   Visit the website — http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/ — to calculate your BMI.

BMI numbers 25 and higher are associated with higher blood fats, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, however, the BMI is a good but imperfect guide. Muscle weighs more than fat, for instance, and women and men who are very muscular and physically fit can have high BMIs without added health risks. Even small reductions in weight can be beneficial and reducing your weight by just 10 percent can decrease your blood pressure, lower your blood cholesterol level, reduce your risk of diabetes and allow you to reduce the amount of medicine you must take daily.

5. Get regular health screenings

High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels. But without testing for them, you probably won’t know whether you have these conditions. Regular screening can tell you what your numbers are and whether you need to take action.

Blood pressure. Regular blood pressure screenings start in childhood. Adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years. You may need more frequent checks if your numbers aren’t optimal or if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury.

Cholesterol levels. Adults should have their cholesterol measured at least once every five years. You may need more frequent testing if your numbers aren’t optimal or if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Some children may need their blood cholesterol tested if they have a strong family history of heart disease.

Prevention pays

Heart disease is often avoidable. Following a heart-healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated. Find ways to include heart-healthy habits into your lifestyle — and you may well enjoy a healthier life for years to come.

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