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Prevent a Heart Attack

Quitting Smoking
For those who smoke, quitting is extremely important for preventing a heart attack. Smokers have more than twice the risk of having a heart attack as nonsmokers. According to the American Heart Association, smoking is the biggest risk factor for sudden cardiac death, and smokers who have a heart attack are more likely to die than nonsmokers who have one.
 
The good news is that quitting smoking greatly reduces the risk of heart attack. One year after quitting, the risk drops to about half that of current smokers and gradually returns to normal in persons without heart disease. Three years after quitting, your risk of dying from a heart attack is about the same as if you had never smoked. Even among people with heart disease, the risk also drops sharply one year after quitting smoking, and it continues to decline over time, but the risk does not return to normal.
 
(Click Smoking and Heart Disease for more information.)
 

Taking Medications to Prevent a Heart Attack

As part of a heart attack prevention plan, medications may be needed in addition to lifestyle changes. Some medications decrease the workload on your heart and relieve your symptoms. Others decrease your chance of having a heart attack or sudden death, and prevent or delay the need for a special procedure (angioplasty or bypass surgery). By controlling your risk factors with lifestyle changes and medications, you may prevent or slow the development of coronary artery disease and therefore decrease the chance of having a heart attack.
 
(Click Heart Medications for more information. You can also read about Aspirin and Heart Attacks.)
 
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Heart Attack Information

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