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Best Ways to Prevent a Heart Attack Without Drugs

Despite the fact that over 40 million Americans are prescribed and taking cholesterol-lowering medications, heart disease is still the nation’s #1 killer at over 800,000 deaths annually.  Knowing your risks and taking the right actions to reduce your risk is the best course of action. Read this list carefully.  There’s fresh information below that you may not hear from most physicians. So here are the best ways to prevent heart disease and heart attacks.

Blood Test Heart Attack Risk

Find a doctor who will order a complete set of blood tests to determine your risk for heart attack.  Those tests not only include lipid testing for total cholesterol, HDL, and LDL, but also less common tests such as the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test which measures the level of inflammation in your arteries. Your test results can show cholesterol readings that are within the low-risk range, but you can still be at high risk for heart disease because your coronary arterial walls are inflamed. If the inflammation is unaddressed over time, your body can build up more plaque, and eventually cause a coronary artery blockage. The following is a little-known fact well-documented in medical journals: On average, 40-60% of hospital admissions for myocardial infarction (heart attack) include patients with low or normal cholesterol levels.

Control Hypertension or High Blood Pressure (HBP)

More than 50 million people in the U.S. have high blood pressure, the most common heart disease risk factor. Exercise and healthy eating as well as limiting or avoiding salt can improve HBP. Some people may need medications to control blood pressure if those items within your control won’t work. If you snore or feel extremely fatigued all day long, getting tested for sleep apnea may be important. Treating sleep apnea will also help control high blood pressure.

Get a Health Screening

Every year I get a health screening to determine if I have any blockages in my arteries.  Using sonic technology (sonogram), licensed health screening providers like LifeLine Screening can easily determine during the test if you have a blockage in your carotid arteries, coronary arteries, or in your extremities which could place you immediately at risk for heart attack or stroke.  They can also determine your risk for an aortic aneurysm. Don’t expect your doctor to order this test. Don’t expect your health insurance to pay for it. They should, but they don’t.

Smokers: Sign-up for a Smoking Cessation Program

The chemicals in tobacco damage your blood cells. They also can damage the function and structure of your blood vessels. This damage increases your risk of atherosclerosis, a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up in the arteries. By signing up for a smoking cessation program, you can reduce the risk of a heart attack by more than 50%. Just about every employer offering a high deductible health plan will offer its employees a free or discounted smoking cessation program that works.  If you are a smoker, you can immediately reduce your heart disease risk by 50% or more just by quitting smoking. It’s a no-brainer.  It’s difficult but just do it.

Prevent Heart Attacks with Diet

The best way to improve your arterial health is to give your body the nutrition it is not getting from a typical American diet.  Your arterial inflammation can be dramatically reduced just by including healthy foods in your diet such as multi-colored vegetables, healthy fruits, nuts, complex carbohydrates, and high-quality protein from good sources.

Get More High-Quality Exercise

Everybody already knows that regular exercise will prevent a heart attack, and one type of exercise does not fit all. However, exercise needs to be the frequent enough (3x week), vary the cardio frequency, and include strength training.  The most effective plan is to combine cardio (raising the heart above 80 max heart rate) for periods of time in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with strength training from either machines, free weights or resistance bands.  See my other posts in the future for what qualifies as HIIT.

Take the Right Supplements

Every smart health consumer knows that American food from the grocery stores is nutrient depleted unless you are buying expensive organic food.  To make up the difference between what’s available and what your body requires, every smart consumer should be taking a high-quality multi-vitamin with vitamin A,C, and E, a vitamin D  supplement in the form of D3 Calicalceferol at high dosages of at least 5,000 IU, and others based upon deficiencies in blood tests.

Conclusion: Know Your Test Results and Take the Correct Action

Getting properly tested is the first step.  Stop smoking, eat high nutrition foods, exercise frequently with HIIT and strength training, and get on a good vitamin supplement regimen to remove your deficiencies. Notice that nowhere above are cholesterol-lowering medications listed as an action to take.

 

Hugh Miller

10 Comments

  1. You have provided some very important information here. I am a former smoker and have been quit for 6 years now. I don’t miss that in the slightest.

    Thanks for sharing this interesting post, Hugh.

  2. As a 70-year-old, I find this post very pertinent. Your recommendation on exercise 3x a week is heartening – no pun! That is doable! I am now getting to the age – not there yet, of course – where things start to happen. But I also know that when I was younger, people in their 40’s had heart attacks. Getting that inflammation test sounds like a really good idea, and one I was not aware of before. Thank you.

  3. I think this is a big concern for many people. A heart attack is one of those things that is a well known risk but many people do not often consider how they are contributing to the negative effects on their hearts until it is to late. I think you are correct in stating diet and exercise as a main way to combat heart disease (many other diseases as well).

    Things like smoking and drinking are also detrimental to health but most people take these for granted as they are social norms. I think a proper healthy diet and exercise plan should be a priority for everyone perhaps even a mandatory short course at universities and schools.

  4. Hi

    This is a very important blog entry that most people need to read whether they are “healthy” or not. 

    Ive known people who are perfectly healthy, skinny, and have no signs of the illness suddenly gets one. Sometimes its genetics, but still it is important to do all the things we can to prevent it. Actually the younger the better too. 

    Regards, John Greg

  5. Kind of scary, but thank you for this information 🙂 I’m in my 40’s now and I try to eat a healthy diet and work out regularly.  This information is really good and totally appreciated 🙂  It really is a good idea to go in and get the blood test.  Every bit you can do to help prevent a heart attack is good.  I want to be around for my children years from now.  And this will help get me there, I’m sure 🙂

    Thank you 🙂

  6. Very good post and it has lot of info to save lots of lives.

    The fact is that many people or either don’t know, or don’t care how to care for their health.

    Unhealthy food, not exercising, sodas, are a few examples that you can have attacks.

    These kind of tests you were talking about can make them realize how thin the line can be between life and death.

    I will share this post because people need to understand it is about their life.

    Thanks for sharing it!

  7. I have a couple of questions for you?

    Is heart disease hereditary?  

    I’m not surprised that heart disease is the number one killer in the United States.  However, I have a question about alcohol and heart disease.  Is drinking more alcohol a day make you prone for a heart attack or anything?

    • A family history of heart disease increases the risk of heart disease, but there’s nothing we can do about history. It is what it is. What we can control to reduce our risk is diet, exercise, testing for additional risk, and taking supplements or medication. 

      Here’s an AHA article on alcohol and heart diseases risk:  http://www.heart.org/en/health

  8. This is a fantastic article…and it really hits home on the points of things we can do to reduce risk of heart attack.  That is a real killer.  I had a friend of mine die from a heart attack at the age of 38.  He did have some other health issues….but all the more reason to control the things that you can….and he didn’t.  Very sad for his family.

    i get my screening and lab work done every year and it’s now a habit for me.  Diet and exercise are the easiest things to change and control….you don’t need to get crazy…just common sense and constancy.

    Great job! 

  9. I just want to say that everyone has got only one heart and it’s our own responsibility to keep it strong and healthy. My dad is one good example of someone who really takes good care of his pumping machine. After years of gastric burns, he decided to become a vegetarian and take very minimal processed food. In his recent exam, his cardiologist said that his heart works like a 40 year old (he’s 80 by the way) so clearly, his effort is paying off. 

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