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 already have coronary heart disease (CHD). These steps involve following a heart-healthy lifestyle and getting ongoing care for medical conditions that raise your risk.
Lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk for heart attack include the following.
- If you smoke, quit. Get quit smoking tips at Quitting Smoking for Older Adults.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Lose weight gradually if you are overweight or obese. Learn more at Aim for a Healthy Weight.
- 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. Get tips on healthy eating at you get older.
- Be as physically active as you can. Learn more at Go4LIfe®, the exercise and physical activity campaign for older adults from the National Institute on Aging.
- Manage stress. Learn about relaxation techniques.
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, try to control your blood sugar level through diet and physical activity (as your doctor recommends). If needed, take your medicines as directed.