How To Prevent a Heart Attack

As an Accredited Chest Pain Center with PCI, we make heart attack prevention a priority. The American Heart Association recommends that heart attack prevention begin by age 20. Many first-ever heart attacks or strokes are fatal or disabling — often causing congestive heart failure, so prevention is critical. The sooner you begin comprehensive risk reduction, the longer and stronger your heart will beat.

Risk Factors you can’t change: 

There are some risk factors that we are unable to control such as:

  • Age
  • Gender - Males have a slightly higher risk than females
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Ethnicity (African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian etc.)

Risk Factors you can change: 

Making a few lifestyle changes can reduce risk factors for heart disease, heart attack and stroke such as:

  • Stop smoking. Smokers are 2-4 times more likely to have heart disease.
  • Fight diabetes. Diabetics are 2-4 times more likely to have heart disease.  If you don’t currently have diabetes, you need to take steps to prevent type II diabetes. Prevention is best achieved by keeping your weight, and cholesterol levels  under control. 

Know your numbers:

High cholesterol, high blood pressure and being too overweight also increase the risk of heart disease

  • Cholesterol: People with high cholesterol are two times more likely to have heart disease.  A lab test can tell you what your total cholesterol, LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol) is.
  • High Blood Pressure:  High blood pressure is a major cause of heart attacks and the number one cause of strokes. 
  • Weight: Controlling your weight can significantly decrease your risk of a heart attack.  Obesity increases the risk of heart attack up to two times more than someone with normal weight.

Get active:

A life without routine exercise is likely to be a shorter one.  It has been shown that exercise reduces the risk of a person having a heart attack. Regular exercise aids in keeping weight down, increasing the good cholesterol and reducing stress.
Reduce stress: Stress is considered to be a contributing risk factor because of its affect on the heart.  More research is needed to determine what the effect is.

Most Importantly, Know Your Risk:

Do you know what your risk for a heart attack is?  If not, please take seven minutes to take this risk assessment.

West Tennessee Healthcare (WTH) does not exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the grounds of race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability, Limited English Proficiency or sex, including discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, sex stereotyping or pregnancy in admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits under any of its programs and activities, whether carried out by WTH directly or through a contractor or any other entity with which WTH arranges to carry out its programs and activities.

For further information about this policy, contact Amy Garner (731) 541-9914.