How preventable is a heart attack? There are several factors to consider. Some are risk factors that we have little control over. Others are lifestyle choices we can make to reduce our risk. Read these guidelines carefully to know how to prevent a heart attack. Apply them, and you will lower your chances of ever experiencing one.

Risk factors

The following factors can increase your risk of a heart attack:

  • Family history. If a parent or close relative has had a heart attack, your risk of heart attack increases.
  • Age. Your risk of heart attack increases with age, as plaque builds up and arteries harden.

However, there are lifestyle choices you can make to help prevent a heart attack.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Senior shopping couple with basket on the market. Healthy diet

Eating healthy starts with a balanced diet. This means hearty servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It is also helpful to include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon. Eat a wide variety of whole foods to ensure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need.

There are also some foods to cut down on, like salt, saturated fats, red meat, and sugary foods. Limit your alcohol intake (no more than two drinks per day for men and one for women). Avoid trans fats or foods that have hydrogenated ingredients. This will help prevent buildup in your arteries and blood vessels.

Know what else keeps your blood flowing? Beets! Heartbeet Complete’s beetroot powder harnesses the natural benefits of beets, which helps to relax and open blood vessels.

Manage Your Cholesterol

An important part of a healthy diet is eating the right kind of cholesterol. Avoid eating LDL cholesterol (or “bad” cholesterol) which is found in foods like….. . This type of cholesterol, along with fats and calcium, will create a buildup of plaque in your arteries.  Include foods with HDL (“good”) cholesterol. HDL cholesterol can be found in fatty fish, vegetable oils, legumes, and nuts.

You can learn about your cholesterol level by talking with your doctor (who can find out through a simple blood test). If your cholesterol is dangerously high, your doctor may prescribe medication.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure

Measuring Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart attacks. Blood pressure is the force of blood that presses against your blood vessel walls—high blood pressure will damage these walls over time. It also puts more stress on your heart.

High blood pressure has few outward symptoms, so it is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly. Your doctor can do this every time you go in for a check-up, or you can learn to do it at home. {link to new tech bp monitoring article?} . You can manage your blood pressure through exercise, a healthy diet, lowering salt intake, and managing stress.

Manage Your Weight

Extra weight can put added pressure on your heart. It can also be a sign of other factors that put your heart at risk (such as an unhealthy diet, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome). Eat a healthy diet and manage your portion sizes. Get plenty of exercise and the right amount of sleep. Talk with your doctor or a dietitian to make a plan for weight loss.

Exercise Regularly

Daily physical activity will help you manage your weight and blood pressure. It will also add to your overall health. Even thirty minutes a day will significantly lower your risk of heart attack.

Do Not Smoke

Quit smoking concept by breaking the cigaretteSmoking can raise your blood pressure, cause plaque buildup in your blood vessels, and cause other health problems (especially in your lungs). Do not start if you have never smoked. If you do smoke, make a plan to quit. It’s best not to do this alone—talk with your doctor about what method may work best for you.

Control Blood Sugar Levels and Manage Diabetes

High glucose levels in your blood can damage your arteries. Those with diabetes or pre-diabetes are at a higher risk. Talk with your doctor and make a plan to control your blood sugar, especially if you have diabetes. This will decrease your risk for heart attack.

Manage Stress

Meditating by workplace

A little stress can motivate us to do well in work or school. Too much stress can raise your blood pressure and put your heart at risk. Explore relaxation methods and go with what works for you. These could include meditation, hobbies, yoga, taking a walk, reading, or other recreational activities. Spend quality time with friends and family. A calm heart is a healthy heart.

Talk to Your Doctor about Aspirin

Some research shows that taking daily aspirin can lower a person’s risk for heart attack. It may not be the right choice for everyone, so it is important to ask your doctor if it is a good idea for you.

The Bottom Line

It is not impossible to prevent a heart attack. In fact, by making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, managing your blood pressure, and managing weight, you can greatly lower your risk of having a heart attack. They will also improve your overall well-being, leading to greater happiness and health throughout your life.

Learn how to recognize and respond to a heart attack here.