Easy, expert-approved tips for preventing a heart attack

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • The American Heart Association recommends omega-3 fatty acids, which may benefit heart health and reduce the risk of dying from heart disease.
  • Research shows that nine out of 10 heart specialists say preventive cardiovascular disease screening is incredibly valuable for patients with two or more risk factors.
  • Harvard Medical School experts say chronic anger, worry, and hostility lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide, and it’s something that can be prevented through lifestyle change and managing risk factors. Here are 5 ways to improve your heart health and potentially avoid a heart attack.

1. Get a Preventive Health Screening

Research shows that nine out of 10 heart specialists say preventive cardiovascular disease screening is incredibly valuable for patients with two or more risk factors. Risk factors include age 55 or older, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, smoking, family history of heart disease or stroke, and obesity.

Preventive screening from providers such as Life Line Screening can help identify risk factors before it’s too late.

“My surgeon was amazed and told me that if the Life Line Screening had not detected the problem, I would have probably suffered a massive stroke or even fatal consequences,” said Sam Raines, a retired military veteran.

2. Eat Heart-Healthy Foods (or Take Supplements)

If you’re concerned about your heart health, try upping your omega-3s. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish are good for the heart, and that’s why the American Heart Association recommends that people eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids may benefit heart health and reduce the risk of dying from heart disease.

However, some people are concerned about contaminants in seafood, such as mercury. If you don’t want to eat fish, there are other options.

According to Mayo Clinic, research shows that people who consume fish oil at least twice a week have a lower risk of dying from heart disease. Additionally, fish oil can reduce blood pressure and triglyceride levels and might even help reduce pain and joint tenderness in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

3. Get Moving

Exercise strengthens muscles, and the heart is no exception. First, determine your target heart rate. Then, find an activity that you enjoy doing.

The Harvard Medical School says a brief 10-minute walk is a great way to introduce physical activity into your routine. Their experts also suggest lifting a hardcover book or a two-pound weight a few times a day. Once that becomes easy, move on to bulkier items or look into joining a gym.

4. Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is no easy feat, but doing so has endless benefits. Smoking leads to heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema, and many other life-threatening conditions.

Cigarette smoke can also lead to heart problems for those around you, including children. Stay strong, and quit for yourself and your loved ones.

5. Don’t Stress, and Remember to Breathe

Harvard Medical School experts say chronic anger, worry, and hostility lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. However, tapping into positive emotions leads to the direct opposite — improved health, longer life, and a greater sense of well-being.

Try taking slow, deep breaths for a few minutes every day. Take a moment to acknowledge the blessings in your life and think about what you’re grateful for.

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