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Heart Attack and Atherosclerosis Prevention (cont.)

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Will exercise reduce my risk of having heart disease and 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.

A tip is to 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 heart disease or a heart attack?

The following increases your risk of heart attack:

What can you do if you are alone and think you are having a heart attack?

If you have a heart attack and are home alone when it occurs here are some tips help improve your outcome.

  • Know the symptoms of a heart attack. Keep your cell phone available at all times. If you suspect you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 immediately. Minutes count! Do this FIRST, before anything else.
  • If the 911 operator suggests it, take an aspirin if you are not allergic. Be prepared  talk to your doctor and find out if you should be on aspirin therapy to prevent a heart attack before it occurs.
  • The Internet has spread the idea of "cough CPR," however, the American Heart Association does not endorse this as a way to prevent heart attacks. If you are having a sudden abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) and are conscious you may be able to cough forcefully enough to maintain enough blood flow to the brain to stay conscious a few seconds more until the arrhythmia breaks. Coughing probably won't hurt, but always call 911 first.


American Heart Association. "What is Cardiovascular Disease." Updated: Sep 08, 2016.

American Heart Association. "About Heart Attacks." Updated: Sep 16, 2016.

American Heart Association. "Cough CPR." Updated: Sep 30, 2016.

American Heart Association. "Understand Your Risk of Heart Attack." Updated: Sep 16, 2016.

American Heart Association. "Warning Signs of a Heart Attack." Updated: Sep 29, 2016.

American Heart Association. "Lifestyle Changes for Heart Attack Prevention." Updated: Sep 16,2016.

. "Aspirin and Heart Disease." Updated: Sep 19, 2016.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Heart Disease Facts." Updated Aug 10, 2015.

Michael Greger, MD. "Heart Health." Updated: Oct 26, 2016.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health. "What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Disease." Updated: Apr 21, 2014.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/24/2016


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