Heart attacks are scary, life-threatening events that can change your life in the blink of an eye. In no way should you ever take a heart attack or heart attack symptoms lightly. Luckily, there are ways you can prevent heart attacks, or at least lessen your risk of having one, in the long term by making healthy lifestyle choices. What are some of these heart attack prevention strategies?

Before we continue, we’d like to urge you to call 911 IMMEDIATELY if you or a loved one thinks they’re having a heart attack. Minutes can make all the difference.

Get Heart-Healthy

One of the most substantial ways to lower your risk of a heart attack is to get physically healthier. This means losing weight, getting in shape, or both. Specifically, losing weight is good for your heart for a number of reasons. First and foremost, being overweight puts a lot of stress on your heart. It can lead to several conditions that put you at risk for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Lowering your weight by even just 10 percent is enough to reduce your risk of having a heart attack.

One way that you can lose weight while simultaneously lowering your risk of a heart attack is to exercise regularly. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise a day can strengthen your heart and help you lose weight. In fact, any exercise that raises your heart rate is enough to help your heart. So, what kinds of exercises should you try?

In fact, any exercise that raises your heart rate is enough to help your heart.

Aerobic workouts, like running or jogging, are super effective at getting your heart to beat faster. Swimming is another particularly effective heart-healthy workout, because it’s a full body workout that’s easy on your joints. If you need something a little less intense, there are also several exercises that are great for seniors starting to get in shape.

Eat with Your Heart in Mind

If you’re looking to lose weight, changing to a healthy diet is key; however, trying to lose weight isn’t the only reason why should look at your diet. Eating healthier alone can lower your chances of heart attack.

A simple way to reduce your risk of having a heart attack is to stick to a heart-healthy diet. The advantage of sticking with a set diet, as opposed to adding heart-healthy foods into your regular diet, is that you’re provided with guidance on what to eat and what not to eat. At the same time, you’ll know that everything in your diet is geared toward making your heart stronger. Two examples of heart-healthy diets include the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet.

Two examples of heart-healthy diets include the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet.

If a set diet isn’t for you, you should still add heart-healthy foods to your everyday diet and try eating healthier in general. For example, you could replace sugary snacks with snacks that lower your blood pressure. You could also cut back on sugar, since it’s a primary cause of weight gain. Adding various superfoods that are heart-friendly (e.g., avocados or mushrooms) into your diet, or trying a shot of apple cider vinegar, also might be good ideas. Two other factors that you should watch are your blood sugar and your cholesterol. High blood sugar can lead to diabetes, which can make you more likely to have a heart attack, while high cholesterol can cause heart problems.

Lifestyle Changes

Finally, there are a few lifestyle changes that you can make that will help lower your risk of heart attacks. Perhaps the most significant heart-healthy lifestyle change you can make is quitting smoking. One study showed that quitting cigarettes had the largest single effect on your chances of having a heart attack. Researchers found that, by giving the habit up, you could reduce your risk of having a heart attack by 36 percent. The same study also found that drinking in moderation only can lower your risk of a heart attack by 11 percent. Note, drinking in moderation can be good for your heart, but overindulging can have the opposite effect.

Researchers found that, by quitting smoking, you could reduce your risk of heart attack by 36 percent.

Beyond giving up old habits, you can also try to get more sleep to help your heart. Among the many benefits of getting enough sleep is that it can lower your blood pressure, which can lower your risk of having a heart attack. If you struggle to get enough sleep sometimes, don’t worry about it, though. Seriously, don’t stress, because another effective way to lower your chances of heart disease is to relax and manage your stress levels. Evidence shows that happier, relaxed people are less likely to develop heart disease and may have lower heart rates, blood pressure, and risk of coronary heart disease. You should also be extra careful in the winter, when heart attacks are more common.

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Without a doubt, a heart attack is a life-changing event that can take a long time to recover from. The best way that you can ensure you survive a heart attack is to make sure you don’t ever have one. By following a healthy lifestyle, complete with heart-smart foods and exercise, you’ll be well on your way to lowering your chances of a heart attack.

Further Reading

The American Heart Association — The American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations
The Shop & Enroll Blog — Medicare Insurance Costs and Coverage for Medical Emergency Services