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Myocardial Infarction Preventive Measures: Tips for Preventing Heart Attack

written by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 11/30/2009

Myocardial infarction preventive measures is the medical term for the steps taken to prevent heart attack. Since heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest and death, it is important that preventive guidelines are followed carefully.

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    Myocardial infarction preventive measures can be used to reduce the risk of heart attack in someone who is at risk of a cardiac event. Following these guidelines can help you reduce your risk, and can even help you reduce your risk of strokes and other serious conditions.

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    Lifestyle Changes

    Several lifestyle changes can substantially reduce the risk of heart attack. Reduce your intake of fat and cholesterol by eating less meat and more fruits and vegetables. If you're overweight, obese, or even morbidly obese, lose weight by eating a healthful diet and getting regular exercise. When you start an exercise program, don't try to do too much all at once. Go for a short walk or swim laps in a pool for 30 minutes. If you smoke cigarettes, enroll in a smoking cessation program that will help you quit for good. Nicotine causes the blood vessels to narrow and increases the workload of the heart, which can lead to heart attack.

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    Treat High Blood Pressure

    One of the most effective myocardial infarction preventive measures is reducing high blood pressure levels. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood, which can increase the risk for heart attack and stroke. Try to reduce your blood pressure by reducing your sodium intake and adding more potassium to your diet. Although blood pressure can increase during exercise, the American Heart Association reports that regular exercise can actually lower blood pressure. If you cannot control your blood pressure with diet and exercise, your doctor may recommend medication. Diuretics, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, and angiotensin II receptor blockers are examples of drugs used to treat high blood pressure.

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    Control Diabetes

    Uncontrolled diabetes increases the risk for heart attack, so controlling diabetes is one of the most important myocardial infarction preventive measures. Diabetes causes blood sugar levels in the body to get too high. These levels can be better controlled with proper diet and exercise. In some cases, blood sugar levels remain high despite excellent diet control and regular exercise. Medications may be needed to bring levels close to normal.

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    Reduce LDL Cholesterol

    Low-density lipoprotein, also known as LDL cholesterol, is the “bad" cholesterol. High levels of this substance in the blood increase the risk for heart attack and cardiovascular disease. Eating less cholesterol and exercising more can help reduce LDL levels. Medications may also be used to bring these levels back to normal.

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    Increase HDL Cholesterol

    High-density lipoprotein, known as HDL cholesterol, is the “good" cholesterol. Researchers aren't sure why this cholesterol is beneficial, but it appears that HDL cholesterol may sweep bad cholesterol out of the arteries. You can increase HDL cholesterol by exercising more and eating more healthful foods. Niacin can also help to increase HDL cholesterol levels.