Heart Attack

Frequently Asked Questions

8. What can I do to lower my risk for a heart attack?

You can lower your risk of having a heart attack, even if you have already had a heart attack or have been told that your chances of having a heart attack are high. To prevent a heart attack, you will need to make lifestyle changes. You may also need to get treatment for conditions that raise your risk.

Lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk for heart attack include the following:

  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Lose weight gradually if you are overweight or obese.
  • Follow a heart healthy diet -- such as one low in salt, saturated fat and trans fat, and calories -- to prevent or reduce high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Be as physically active as you can.

Get treatment for related conditions that might make having a heart attack more likely.

  • If you have high blood cholesterol, follow your doctor's advice about lowering it. Take medications to lower your cholesterol as directed.
  • If you have high blood pressure, follow your doctor's advice about keeping it under control. Take blood pressure medications as directed.
  • If you have diabetes, sometimes called high blood sugar, follow your doctor's advice about keeping blood sugar levels under control. Take your medicines as directed.