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Prevent Heart Attack

10 Ways You Can Help Prevent a Heart Attack

By , Caring.com senior editor
99% helpful

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. For those over 65 years of age, the risk is even greater: eight out of ten people who die of heart disease are 65 or older. Although these statistics sound dire, take heart: With these strategies, you can help your loved ones reduce their risk -- and reduce your own at the same time.

1. Know the early warning signs and seek treatment right away.

Some typical symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations (skipped beats or a racing or pounding heart)
  • Leg swelling
  • Bluish skin color (cyanosis)
  • A prolonged, unexplained cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Persistent fatigue or feeling unwell
  • Passing out

But sometimes the symptoms aren't so obvious. The pain of a heart attack may feel like really bad heartburn or even the flu. And the symptoms of a second heart attack may not be the same as those for the first. If you or someone close to you has already had a heart attack, don't hesitate to seek emergency medical treatment at the first sign of possible trouble.

2. Talk to the doctor about medications that might increase risk.

Hormone replacement therapy, rosiglitazone (for diabetes), and COX-2 inhibitors (for controlling arthritis pain) are all examples of medications that may increase the risk of heart attack. Review all medications with a doctor and ask if there are less risky alternatives.