Making lifestyle changes is the most effective way to prevent having a heart attack (or having another heart attack).
There are three main steps you can take to help prevent a heart attack (as well as stroke):
Eating an unhealthy diet high in fat will make your atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) worse and increase your risk of heart attack.
Continuing to eat high-fat foods will cause more fatty plaques to build up in your arteries. This is because fatty foods contain cholesterol.
There are two main types of cholesterol:
There are also two types of fat – saturated and unsaturated. Avoid foods containing high levels of saturated fat, as they increase levels of bad cholesterol in your blood.
Foods high in saturated fat include:
Eating a small amount of unsaturated fat will increase the level of good cholesterol and help reduce any blockage in your arteries. Foods high in unsaturated fat include:
Smoking is a major risk factor for heart attacks, because it causes atherosclerosis and raises blood pressure.
If you are committed to quitting but do not want to be referred to a stop smoking service, your doctor should be able to prescribe medical treatment to help with withdrawal symptoms you may experience.
Persistent high blood pressure can put your arteries and heart under extra strain, increasing your risk of a heart attack.
High blood pressure can often be reduced by a healthy diet, moderating your intake of alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight and taking regular exercise.
The dietary advice above also applies if you have high blood pressure. In addition, cut down on the amount of salt in your food and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Salt raises your blood pressure. The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure. You should aim to eat less than 6g (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful.
Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre – such as wholegrain rice, bread and pasta – and plenty of fruit and vegetables, has been proven to help lower blood pressure. Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and help keep your body in good condition. You should aim to eat five 80g portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
Regularly drinking alcohol above the recommended limits can raise your blood pressure.
Alcohol is also high in calories, so you will gain weight if you drink regularly. Being overweight will also increase your blood pressure.
Being overweight forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body, which can raise your blood pressure. Find out if you need to lose weight with the BMI healthy weight calculator.
If you do need to shed some weight, it is worth remembering that losing just a few pounds will make a big difference to your blood pressure and overall health.
Being active and taking regular exercise will lower your blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition. Regular exercise can also help you lose weight, which will help lower your blood pressure.
Low-impact activities such as walking, swimming and cycling are recommended. More strenuous activities, such as playing football and squash, may not be recommended. Check with the doctor in charge of your care.
Read More ON:
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
Diagnosing A Heart Attack
Treating a Heart Attack
Causes of a Heart Attack
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Causes of Heart Failure
Treating Heart Failure
Preventing Heart Failure
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Causes of Angina
Source: NHS UK