If you have heart disease, you probably already know you’re at risk for a heart attack. Especially if you have other heart attack risk factors, such as:
- Age >65
- Male gender
- Family history of heart attack
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
Even if you do have other heart attack risk factors, certain lifestyle changes can greatly reduce your risk for heart attack. Here are some examples:
Eat right. Choose foods that are low in sodium and low in saturated and trans fats. Eat lean meats, low-fat dairy products, lots of fruit and vegetables, and whole grains. Limit portion sizes. Avoid sugary drinks (e.g., soda).
Exercise. Aerobic exercise (e.g., walking, swimming, riding a bicycle) can help you lose weight, reduce blood sugar, improve your cholesterol, and control your blood pressure. All of which can help decrease your risk of heart attack. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days per week.
Stop smoking. Smoking can raise your blood pressure and increase your heart attack risk. If you need help to quit smoking, ask your Kansas City cardiologist or primary care physician.
Control your diabetes. Checking your blood sugar periodically as ordered, taking medications as prescribed, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet can help you keep your diabetes under control. If you’ve just started a diet or exercise program, let your doctor know so he or she can monitor you regularly and adjust your medications, if necessary.
Reduce stress. If you’re under a lot of stress, reducing your stress level can decrease your risk for heart attack. Exercise, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises are all methods of reducing stress.
Limit alcohol intake. Too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure and your cholesterol. It can also contribute to obesity. Men should have no more than two drinks per day. Women should limit alcohol intake to one drink per day.
Tips for Success in Reducing Your Heart Attack Risk
Here are a few tips to help you be successful in your quest to manage your heart disease and reduce your risk for heart attack:
Make one change at a time. Trying to make all of these lifestyle changes at once can seem rather daunting. So try setting goals or timeframes for tackling each task. It may help to include friends or family members in goal setting. They can help cheer you on, which will improve your likelihood of reaching your goals.
Reward yourself. Once you’ve reached a goal to improve your heart attack risk, allow yourself a reward. If you’re trying to lose weight, it might be best to avoid food items and either buy something nice for yourself or do something fun instead.
Help for Kansas City Area Residents
If you live in the Kansas City area and need help making lifestyle changes to reduce your heart attack risk, enlist the help of a company that provides Kansas City home health services. A good home care agency can help you with exercise, heart-healthy meal preparation, stress reduction, and diabetes control.
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