How to Prevent Heart Attack

ID-10069375Heart attack is a medical emergency and if not treated promptly and adequately, heart attack may lead to death or serious complications. That is why it is highly important to prevent heart attack. Even if you have had a heart attack, it is never too late to take preventive measures for next heart attack. Taking steps (medications and lifestyle changes) can help in reducing risk of next (subsequent) heart attack, protect your heart from potential damage from heart attacks, and make your heart function better and let you live healthier.

Medications for prevention of heart attack:

If you are at high risk of getting heart attack (known as myocardial infarction or MI in medical term) or if you have had a heart attack already, doctors prescribe certain groups of drugs that can help heart function better and reduce risk of heart attack, they are:

  • Beta-blockers: these drugs lower heart rate and reduce blood pressure. They also reduce sympathetic activity (which helps in reducing cardiac work). All these actions of beta-blockers help in reducing risk of heart attack. Examples of beta-blockers are atenolol, metoprolol, bisoprolol etc.
  • ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors: These drugs are commonly prescribed for reducing the risk of heart attack and subsequent attacks after first attack. These drugs cause dilatation of small blood vessels and make blood flow from heart easy and heart can pump blood without difficulty or without increasing oxygen requirement, which help in preventing heart attack. Examples of ACE inhibitors are enlapril, captopril, lisinopril, parindopril etc.
  • Blood thinning medications: they are also called anti-platelet agents. Examples are low dose aspirin, clopidogrel etc. These drugs make blood less sticky and reduce risk of blood clotting. By making blood less likely to clot, the risk of heart attack is reduced, because it is the clotting of blood that initiate heart attack. By making blood less sticky these drugs improves blood flow in heart and other organs.
  • Cholesterol lowering agents: these medications help in reducing bad cholesterol level and correct lipid profile. These drugs help in reducing risk of heart attack. There are several different groups of cholesterol lowering medications such as statins (e.g. atorvastatin, simvastatin etc.), fibrates, bile acid sequestrants, niacin etc.

All the medications described above need to be taken daily as long as a person lives (before heart attack or after heart attack).

Lifestyle modifications for prevention heart attack:

Along with medications, it is important to change lifestyle to healthier one. Lifestyle changes can help you to reduce risk of heart attack as well as reduce risk of subsequent attacks. Following lifestyle modifications need to be done for reducing risk of heart attack:

  • Stop smoking if you smoke.
  • Be physically active if you have sedentary lifestyle.
  • If you have hypertension, diabetes and/or high cholesterol, take measure to keep them under control.
  • Eat healthy balanced food. Food should contain lots of fibers, vitamins and minerals. Avoid foods with high cholesterol (e.g. red meat) and high fats.
  • Maintain healthy body weight, preferably ideal body weight for your height, age and sex.
  • Reduce stress and learn to manage stress.
  • Avoid excess alcohol. If you drink, drink in moderation.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Loading...