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Prevent a Heart Attack

Maintaining a Healthy Weight
If you are overweight, losing weight can help prevent a heart attack. Carrying extra weight puts additional strain on your heart. Also, as people gain weight, their blood pressure and cholesterol tends to rise. Losing weight can make high blood pressure and cholesterol drop back down.
Your healthcare providers can help you select a diet and exercise program that's right for you and your weight loss goals. To lose weight, a low-fat, low-cholesterol, and low-salt diet is usually recommended, along with an exercise program.
(Click BMI Calculator or BMI Chart to find your healthy weight. You can also visit Obesity and Heart Disease or Weight and Heart Disease for more information.)
Following a Heart-Healthy Diet
You should follow a heart-healthy diet as part of your heart attack prevention plan. A heart-healthy diet is low in fat, cholesterol, and salt, and high in fruits, vegetables, grains, and fiber. It doesn't mean that you can never have pizza or ice cream again. Experts point out that a heart-healthy diet should be the routine. That way, when you have high-fat food every now and then, you're still on track. Making a high-fat diet the routine is asking for trouble.
Remember that a heart-healthy diet is fine for the whole family, including children from the age of two to four and up. Children under two years of age should not follow a heart-healthy diet -- they need more fat to provide enough calories for growth and development.
A heart-healthy diet includes the following:
  • Eight to ten percent of the day's total calories coming from saturated fat.
  • Thirty percent or less of the day's total calories coming from fat.
  • Daily intake of less than 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol.
  • Daily intake of less than 2,400 milligrams of sodium.
  • Just enough calories to achieve or maintain a healthy weight and reduce your blood cholesterol level. Ask your doctor or registered dietitian to recommend a reasonable calorie level for you.
Controlling Blood Pressure
Your heart moves blood through your body. If it is hard for your heart to do this, it works harder and your blood pressure will rise. People with high blood pressure often have no symptoms, so have your blood pressure checked every one to two years. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may suggest that you make some lifestyle changes, such as eating less salt (see DASH Diet) and exercising more. Your doctor may also prescribe blood pressure medicine.
(Click Lowering Blood Pressure for more information.)
The Dirty, Messy Part of BPH

Heart Attack Information

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