Heart Attack and Unstable Angina
You can help prevent a heart attack by taking steps that slow or prevent Reference coronary artery disease Opens New Window—the main risk factor for a heart attack.
Make lifestyle changes
- Reference Quit smoking. It may be the best thing you can do to prevent heart disease. You can start lowering your risk right away by quitting smoking. Also, avoid secondhand smoke.
- Exercise. Exercise boosts your health in a lot of ways. It can improve cholesterol and lower blood pressure. It can also help you reach a healthy weight. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes on most, if not all, days of the week. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. The way you eat can help you Reference control your cholesterol and blood pressure. It can be hard to know what's best to eat for a healthy heart. Remember that some foods you may hear about are just Reference fads that don't prevent heart disease at all.
Control cholesterol and blood pressure
To reduce your risk of a heart attack, you will need to control your cholesterol and manage your blood pressure. Quitting smoking, changing the way you eat, and getting more exercise can help. But if these things don't work, you may also need to take medicines.
- Opens New Window High Cholesterol: Should I Take Statins? Opens New Window
- Opens New Window High Blood Pressure: Should I Take Medicine? Opens New Window
Take aspirin to prevent a heart attack
Taking daily aspirin might lower your chances of having a heart attack. Talk with your doctor before taking aspirin every day. To see if aspirin is right for you, you and your doctor will balance the benefits and the risks of taking a daily aspirin.
- Opens New Window Aspirin: Should I Take Daily Aspirin to Prevent a Heart Attack or Stroke? Opens New Window
For more information, see the topic Reference Low-Dose Aspirin Therapy.
Manage stress and get help for depression
- Manage stress. Stress can hurt your heart. Keep stress low by talking about your problems and feelings, rather than keeping your feelings hidden. Try different Reference ways to reduce stress, such as exercise, deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
- Reference Get help for depression. Getting treatment for depression can help you stay healthy.
Learn about issues for women
Women have unique risk factors for heart disease, including birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. These things can raise a woman's risk for a heart attack or stroke.
See the topic Reference Women and Coronary Artery Disease for more information on risk, symptoms, and prevention of heart disease.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 1, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
- Health Tools
- What Increases Your Risk
- When to Call a Doctor
- Exams and Tests
- Treatment Overview
- Preventing Another Heart Attack
- Life After a Heart Attack
- Treatment for Complications
- End-of-Life Decisions
- Other Places To Get Help
- Related Information