Decrease Your Risk Of Heart Attack

The American Heart Association recommends several steps that can be taken to prevent heart attacks:



quit smoking

lower your blood cholesterol level if it is high

exercise regularly

lose excess weight and

keep your blood pressure within healthy limits

If you smoke, STOP NOW. A smoker’s chance of heart attack is more than twice that of a nonsmoker. Smoking is the biggest risk factor for sudden death. Smokers have two to four times the risk of those who do not smoke.



Have your blood cholesterol checked. The risk of a heart attack rises as blood cholesterol increases. The risk is even greater when other risks, such as high blood pressure and smoking, are also present. A diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol raises blood cholesterol. A diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol usually lowers it.



Lack of exercise is a risk factor for heart attack. The heart is a muscle and if it is out of shape, it does not work as well as it should. Routine exercise plays a crucial role in preventing heart and blood vessel disease. Exercise at least 30 to 60 minutes four to six times a week. Seek medical advice before starting any exercise program.



People who have too much body fat are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke even if they have no other risk factors. Being overweight increases the strain on the heart. It raises blood pressure and blood cholesterol and can lead to diabetes.



High blood pressure increases the heart’s workload. This causes the heart to enlarge and weaken over time. It also raises the risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and heart failure. The risk of heart attack is greatly increased when high blood pressure is combined with obesity, smoking, high blood cholesterol levels, or diabetes.




A heart attack occurs when the heart muscle does not get the blood it needs for its nourishment. The heart depends on special blood vessels, called coronary arteries, to supply it with nutrition and oxygen. If these arteries become blocked, then the part of the heart that depends on them can become injured. Permanent injuries to the heart muscle can cause a heart attack.



A heart attack is the most common cause of death in the United States. Every minute of the day someone dies from a heart attack. Early treatment is crucial for heart attack victims. Prompt cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, can save a life.


Quick treatment with drugs that break up blood clots can greatly improve a person’s chance of surviving a heart attack. Since early treatment makes a difference, it’s important to know the early signs of a heart attack.



The most common sign is chest pain or chest discomfort. Other signs to watch for are:


an uncomfortable squeezing or pressure sensation in the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away or comes back

a chest pain that also goes to the arms, shoulders, back, or neck

chest pain with sweating, nausea, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or fainting

new chest pain in a person who has already had a heart attack

Not all these warning signs will occur. If any of these signs last more than a few minutes, take immediate action, by calling an ambulance or emergency services.


Sometimes a person having a heart attack, even if they have had one before, may not want to call for help. Since early treatment is so important, do not let this keep you from calling for medical help. Someone should stay with the heart attack victim until help arrives. This person should be ready to perform CPR if breathing and the heart stop.

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