6 Heart Attack Prevention Tips

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A heart attack is a dangerous-to-deadly cardiovascular event wherein the oxygen supply to the heart suddenly gets cut off. In official medical terms, this is called an MI – which stands for myocardial infarction. Heart tissue can be deprived of oxygen in a number ways, usually, because the blood flow to the heart is slowed or stops. When the coronary arteries of your heart get blocked by deposits of arterial plaque, blood flow is severely compromised, depriving the heart of oxygen – which can cause it to stop beating or become damaged. Without the heart, oxygenated blood cannot be pumped to the other major (and minor) organs and tissues of the body.

It’s essential to remember that preventing heart disease is much easier than curing and managing it! These are some of the most vital important steps:

1 – Maintain A Healthy Weight Through Good Nutrition

Good diet starts with good shopping – and this means taking care to learn about the health benefits and harmful effects of various foods. One of the best goals is to purchase “single ingredient foods”. Too much fat in the diet can cause arterial plaque to develop in blood vessels anywhere in the body, not just the heart. [1] See also 10 Of The Worst Food Ingredients You Should Never Eat Again

2 – Stop smoking

Tobacco smoke contains multiple carcinogens such as hydrocarbons which causes genetic mutation and increases the risk for cancer, [2] but has also been linked to an increased risk for heart attacks. A study in 2011 studied smokers and incidence of MIs and revealed a positive association between the two. [3]

3 – Exercise

Exercise has a lot of benefits; the two most important being (1) preventing unhealthy weight gain and (2) improving cardiovascular health. When a person exercises, it burns off excess calories from the daily diet, eventually using up the body’s fat stores – this is an excellent way to prevent fatty deposits. Exercise also gives the heart a workout, improving endurance (especially under stress). [4]

4 – Take Time To Relax And Be Happy

Stress is a killer – literally. A lot of work has been done to research how stress affects the human body and a study in 2012 focused specifically on one source of stress – job strain. According to the study, stress from work was positively associated in with an increased risk for heart disease. This suggests that preventing stress (not just in the workplace) could improve cardiovascular health. [5]

5 – Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol in moderation has, interestingly, been found to be cardioprotective, [6] but alcohol abuse can do the exact opposite and greatly damage the heart. A study in 2012 revealed that alcohol dependence was associated with reduced heart rate variability or a variation of the intervals between heartbeats. Reduced HRV is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. [7] Even more importantly, do not mix alcohol and prescription meds or other drugs!

Related:  Top 10 Cortisol Myths & Facts

6 – Manage Co-morbidities

Diseases that affect other areas of the body can also affect the heart, so management of these “co-morbidities” is important in maintaining a healthy heart. The impact of diabetes on heart disease risk was the focus of a 2011 study, whose results revealed that both early and late-onset diabetes was associated with a higher risk for heart disease and myocardial infarctions (“heart attacks”). [8]

Further Reading:
4 Silent Signs You May Have Clogged Arteries and the Best Foods to Eat To Prevent It
Top 10 Herbs For The Heart


[1] National Institutes of Health (2015). What Is Coronary Heart Disease? http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/cad

[2] Schaal, C. & Chellappan, S. (2014). Nicotine-mediated cell proliferation and tumor progression in smoking-related cancers. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24398389

[3] Zhang, Q., et. al. (2011). Association of daily tar and nicotine intake with incident myocardial infarction: results from the population-based MONICA/KORA Augsburg Cohort Study 1984-2002. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21542909

[4] Kang, S. (2014). Trekking exercise promotes cardiovascular health and fitness benefits in older obese women. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4157929/

[5] Kivimaki, M., et. al. (2012). Job strain as a risk factor for coronary heart disease: a collaborative meta-analysis of individual participant data. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673612609945

[6] Brien, S., et. al. (2011). Effect of alcohol consumption on biologic markers associated with risk of coronary heart disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of interventional studies. http://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/342/bmj.d636.full.pdf

[7] Quintana, D., et. al. (2012). A Meta-Analysis on the Impact of Alcohol Dependence on Short-Term Resting-State Heart Rate Variability: Implications for Cardiovascular Risk. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1530-0277.2012.01913.x/abstract

[8] Wannamethee, S., et. al. (2011). Impact of Diabetes on Cardiovascular Disease Risk and All-Cause Mortality in Older Men: Influence of Age at Onset, Diabetes Duration, and Established and Novel Risk Factors. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=226787

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