Prevention is the key to managing the risk heart attack. Other conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol contribute to the development of coronary artery disease. These illnesses must be well-managed, in order to minimize the progression of coronary artery disease.
Lifestyle choices that help to prevent heart attack include:
- Stop smoking
- Avoid exposure to secondary smoke
- Eat a healthy heart diet:
- Follow an exercise plan developed with your doctor.
- Weight loss if you are overweight.
- Drink alcohol in moderation:
- For men: no more than 2 alcoholic beverages per day
- For women: no more than 1 alcoholic beverage per day
- Ask your doctor if you are a candidate for daily aspirin therapy:
- Your doctor will base his or her judgment on your relative risk of heart attack in the next 10 years, balanced against the potential risks from taking daily aspirin.
- This requires you are not allergic to aspirin
- In most cases, requires only 81 mg of aspirin per day, administered as a single enteric-coated pill (e.g. Bayer Low Dose 81 mg)
- Ask your doctor if you are a candidate for other blood thinners, such as Plavix
- Avoid using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories if you have had a heart attack before. Studies show an increase risk for heart attack and death in those who do. Ask your doctor for guidance with regard to these medications.
Dietary guidelines for the prevention of heart attack include:
- Control calories:
- Eat quality fats:
- Use virgin olive oil and other unsaturated, low-cholesterol fats.
- Eat the right amount of fats, carbohydrates and protein:
- Limit your fat intake to 20 or 30 percent, but don't substitute simple carbohydrates for fat.
- Less than 7% of the day's total calories from saturated fat.
- Up to 10% of the day's total calories from polyunsaturated fat.
- Up to 20% of the day's total calories from monounsaturated fat
- Talk to your doctor about vitamin D supplements.
- Eat foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids:
- Omega-3's are present in salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
- Walnuts and flax seed are also rich in omega3's.
- If you don't like fish, your local pharmacy has omega-3 supplements in capsule form.
- Avoid fad diets:
- Eat a well-rounded diet instead.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Avoid large and heavy meals.
- Limit cholesterol in diet:
- To less than 200 milligrams a day.
- Limit iron intake:
- Eat more fiber:
- Whole grains are best.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
- Reduce salt in your diet
- Optimal: no more than 1,500 milligrams per day.
- Check with your doctor about supplementing your diet with vitamins:
Key Dietary Recommendations for Chronic Disease Prevention
|Energy (calories)||to maintain BMI < 25|
|Total fats||< or = to 30% of total daily calories|
|Saturated fats||< 7% of total daily calories|
|Polyunsaturated fats||< 10% of total daily calories|
|Monounsaturated fats||< 13% of total daily calories|
|Cholesterol||< or = to 300 mg per day|
|Dietary fiber||25-30 grams per day|
|Fiber type||3:1 insoluble to soluble fiber|
|Sodium||< or = to 1,500 mg per day|
|Calcium 9-24 yrs||1,200-1,500 mg per day|
|Calcium 25-50 yrs||1,000 mg per day|
|Calcium 51-65 yrs||1,200 mg per day|
|Calcium >65 yrs||1,500 mg per day|
|Vitamin D 9-50 yrs||200 IU per day|
|Vitamin D 51-70 yrs||400 IU per day|
|Vitamin D >70 yrs||600 IU per day|
|Folic acid||400 micrograms (ug) per day|
|Fruits & vegetables||5-7 servings per day|
|Alcohol (men)||< or = to 2 drinks per day|
|Alcohol (women)||< or = to 1 drink per day|
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