How to Prevent a Heart Attack

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

View the Heart Disease Slideshow

Quick GuideHeart-Healthy Foods: 25 Foods to Protect Your Cardiovascular System

Heart-Healthy Foods: 25 Foods to Protect Your Cardiovascular System

Will exercise reduce my risk of having a heart attack?

Regular exercise can help prevent heart attacks. Just 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity, 3-4 times per week can lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. It also helps manage stress.

Exercise tips: Start slowly and work your way up to more time and intensity. Even just 10 minutes of light walking will benefit your health.

Find activities you enjoy such as

  • Yoga
  • Swimming
  • Tai Chi
  • Walk for 20 minutes and spend time with nature
  • Bike with family or friends
  • Take an exercise class at the community college
  • Go out dancing

What diseases or conditions put a person at a higher risk for a heart attack?

The following increases your risk of heart attack:

REFERENCES:

American Heart Association. About Heart Attacks. Updated July 2015.
<http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/AboutHeartAttacks/About-Heart-Attacks_UCM_002038_Article.jsp#.VyJl7GbUkuI>.

Heart.org. Aspirin and Heart Disease. Updated Apr 4, 2016.
<http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/PreventionTreatmentofHeartAttack/Aspirin-and-Heart-Disease_UCM_321714_Article.jsp#.VyJrBmbUkuI>.

Heart.org. Cough CPR. 10 December 2014.
<http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/CardiacArrest/Cough-CPR_UCM_432380_Article.jsp#.VyJsDmbUkuI>.

Heart.org. Understand Your Risk of Heart Attack. Updated Feb 10, 2016.
<http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/UnderstandYourRiskofHeartAttack/Understand-Your-Risk-of-Heart-Attack_UCM_002040_Article.jsp#.VyJveWbUkuI>.

Heart.org. Warning Signs of a Heart Attack. Updated Mar 23, 2016.
<http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/WarningSignsofaHeartAttack/Warning-Signs-of-a-Heart-Attack_UCM_002039_Article.jsp#.VyJn-mbUkuI>.

American Heart Association. Lifestyle Changes for Heart Attack Prevention. Updated July 2015.
<http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/PreventionTreatmentofHeartAttack/Lifestyle-Changes-for-Heart-Attack-Prevention_UCM_303934_Article.jsp#.VyIqhWbUkuI>.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart Disease Facts. Updated Aug 10, 2015.
<http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm>.

Michael Greger, MD. Heart Health. Updated Apr 27, 2016.
<http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/heart-health/>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/29/2016

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  • Heart Attack Prevention - Diet Tips

    What healthy diet tips (what foods have you eliminated, what foods you now include, etc.,) have you found to be useful in reducing your risk of heart attack, or another one?

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