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Simple Tricks to Avoid a "Deadly" Heart Attack Say Doctors Now

Experts share five healthy habits that help avoid a deadly heart attack. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a heart attack, that's 805,000 people every year. Heart disease is the leading killer for men and women, but 90 percent of cases can be prevented with a few positive lifestyle changes. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who explained healthy habits that can help avoid a deadly heart attack. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Minimize Sitting And Maximize Daily Movement

couple is doing sport outdoors

Dr. Nicole Harkin, Preventive Cardiologist and Founder of Whole Heart Cardiology says, "Sedentary lifestyle (i.e. prolonged sitting time) has been identified as an independent risk factor for the development of premature heart disease. The increased risk of cardiovascular disease appears to emerge fairly consistently at between 8 to 10 hours of sedentary time a day – and the risk of prolonged sedentary time appears to be independent of time spent in formal exercise. If possible, consider a standing desk, walking meetings, pace while talking on the phone, breaking up your day with errands, and even a fitness tracker to motivate you to get in those 7,500 steps a day." 


Eat More Plants

cutting vegetables

According to Dr. Harkin, "We know from an overwhelming amount of evidence that eating more plants reduces our risk of heart attack. Plants contain an abundance of fiber as well as vitamins, minerals, micronutrients, polyphenols and antioxidants. Evidence suggests we should aim to eat a diet that is rich in quantity and variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes (beans), nuts and seeds. Many trials have demonstrated lower rates of high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, inflammation and heart disease in those following a plant-predominant or plant-based diet."


Get Your Labs Checked And Know Your Numbers

doctor taking patient's blood pressure with analog device
Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

"Periodic check ins with your doctor can help identify risk factors for heart disease that you may not know about. Issues like high blood pressure and high cholesterol don't give you any symptoms, but if left unchecked for a long time can put you at risk for heart disease," says Dr. Harkin. "This is particularly important if you have a family history of heart disease. Your doctor will check your blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and likely labs such as cholesterol and measures of glucose."


Limit Alcohol Intake

alcoholic drinks

Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, MBBS, Ph.D., a professor of public health at New Mexico State University says, "Alcohol abuse has multiple unhealthy effects that directly or indirectly affect the heart. Alcoholic drinks are rich in fat and sugar, promote unhealthy diet choices, cause body fat accumulation, burden the heart, liver, and kidney, and can lead to heart attacks and heart failure in the long run by depleting blood supply to the heart or by directly burdening the heart muscle function." 

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states, " According to the "Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men and 1 drink or less in a day for women."


Avoid Getting COVID

Close-up of a businesswoman with face mask making a phone call over mobile phone while working in the office and looking at camera.

Dr. Khubchandani explains, "In recent times, studies have shown that getting COVID infections is a major risk factor for heart disease. Even fully recovered individuals have had heart attacks after recovery or discharge from the hospitals. One should do all that they can to avoid serious outcomes from the infection (e.g. vaccinate, mask, etc)."


Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather