Heart Disease: Prevention

Heart Disease: Prevention


Heart disease can be prevented. Our everyday choices determine our risk for developing or preventing heart disease. When unhealthy lifestyle habits are practiced, our risk increases greatly. Healthy lifestyle habits are crucial factors to preventing heart disease.

Heart Disease: Prevention



The American Heart Association recommends the following:


quit smoking

keep your blood pressure within healthy limits

lower your blood cholesterol level to below 200 milligrams

consume less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day

consume 55 to 60 percent of the day’s total calories as complex carbohydrates

consume 30 percent or less of the day’s total calories from fat

exercise 30 to 60 minutes 4 to 6 times weekly, or 30 minutes on most days of the week

maintain balanced levels of caloric intake and physical activity to prevent obesity

lose excess weight and

reduce excessive and prolonged stress

Develop healthy habits that incorporate these lifestyle goals. If you do, you will greatly decrease your chances for developing heart disease. .



There are many kinds of heart disease. Sometimes damage to the heart can be reversed with treatment. Sometimes the problems that led to the damage cannot be reversed.


The most common type of heart disease is blockage of the coronary arteries. These blood vessels provide nourishment to the heart muscle. If they are blocked, the heart muscle may be injured or die. If the heart muscle dies, this is called a heart attack. When heart muscle dies, it will form a scar. Scars cannot be reversed.



Even if scars of the heart muscle cannot be changed, blockage of the coronary arteries can be changed. Persons who have had a heart attack can decrease their chances of a second heart attack by:


lowering cholesterol and fats in the diet


stopping smoking and

taking medicine, if necessary, to lower cholesterol levels in the blood

There is also evidence that a vegetarian diet, with very low levels of cholesterol and fat, can actually reverse disease in the coronary arteries. This type of diet is sometimes recommended to persons who have had a heart attack.



There are other treatments for coronary artery disease. These include surgery to bypass or open blockages. These treatments reverse the immediate heart problem, but they do not change the causes of the problem. To change the causes of coronary artery disease, you need to lower the amount of fats and cholesterol in the blood.



Heart disease can also be caused by infection, damage to the heart valves, drugs, and birth problems. If the heart muscle has not died, some of the damage caused by these problems can be reversed. For example, a damaged heart valve can put a great deal of strain on the heart muscle. If the valve is repaired by surgery, the heart muscle can return to almost normal. If medications damage the heart, sometimes the damage will be reversed if the medication is stopped.


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