As you no-doubt know, a heart attack is a life-threatening emergency, and it occurs when blood flow to the heart is significantly reduced or blocked.
Often the result of fatty deposits (plaques), the decreased blood flow can damage or destroy part of the heart. This interferes with the heart’s ability to supply the brain and other vital organs with a continuous supply of oxygenated blood.
Death can occur within minutes without emergency care, depending on which part of the heart is affected.
Fortunately, simple changes in lifestyle habits can reduce your risk of a heart attack. Dr. Mark L. Meyer of Madison Avenue Cardiology in midtown Manhattan, New York City, specializes in heart disease diagnosis and management.
Dr. Meyer is also a well-known advocate for preventing heart attacks whenever possible. Here’s what he recommends to lower your heart attack risk.
A heart-healthy diet is crucial in managing your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, which influence your heart attack risk.
To protect your heart, incorporate fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your diet, while limiting processed foods, sugary drinks, and high-sodium items.
Physical activity strengthens your heart muscle and improves blood flow. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, working up to high-intensity activity five days a week, along with strength-training exercises at least twice a week.
On days when time is short, try splitting your sessions. For instance, three brisk 10-minute walks daily can replace a 30-minute workout.
But don’t start a new exercise routine without checking in with us, especially if you have a known history of heart disease, previous heart attack, or other risk factors. In that case, you may benefit from a cardiac evaluation and cardiac rehab to rebuild stamina.
Maintain a healthy weight
Extra weight, particularly around your midsection, increases your risk of heart disease. On the other hand, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can significantly reduce your heart attack risk.
Focus on body fat percentage and waist circumference, not just the numbers on your scale. Our dietician can help design a menu that suits your health and lifestyle needs. You may also benefit from DASH or the Mediterranean Diet.
Smoking is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to the narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can lead to a heart attack.
The good news? Your risk of heart disease starts to drop soon after you quit.
Chronic stress can lead to unhealthy habits such as overeating, smoking, or drinking. To protect your heart, find healthy ways to manage stress, like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
Get adequate sleep
Sleep is often overlooked when discussing heart health, but it's important. Sleep deprivation has been linked to many health issues, including heart disease.
Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Establishing good sleep habits and addressing sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea can help keep your heart healthy.
Schedule regular health checkups
Regular health checkups are essential for identifying early signs of chronic disease. Along with cardiovascular care, we offer internal medicine concierge services, including annual physical exams and routine health management.
By regularly monitoring your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, we can catch potential issues before they become serious problems. If you develop worrisome trends or symptoms, we can suggest lifestyle modifications, medication, or further diagnostic studies to prevent worsening disease.
Schedule an evaluation with us at Madison Avenue Cardiology today by calling our office or requesting an appointment online.