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

Expert explains four ways to help prevent a heart attack. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for men and women and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 40 seconds a person has a heart attack. "Every year, about 805,000 people in the United States have a heart attack.  Of these, 605,000 are a first heart attack. 200,000 happen to people who have already had a heart attack. About 1 in 5 heart attacks is silent—the damage is done, but the person is not aware of it." While these stats aren't reassuring, the good news is there are ways to help avoid a deadly heart attack and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with  Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, Urgent Care Medical Director and Physician, Carbon Health and Saint Mary's Hospital who shares how. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Why Are Heart Attacks So Common?

cardiac disease risk

Dr. Curry-Winchell says, "This is a loaded question because there's so many factors that contribute to heart attacks including but not limited to your lifestyle, age, and family history. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking. The good news to take away from this is you can always take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors you do control."


Who is at Risk for a Heart Attack and Why?

Senior female gynecologist checking woman with blood pressure gauge in hospital.

Dr. Curry-Winchell emphasizes, "Any age can suffer a heart attack. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, Dyslipidemia (elevated cholesterol), hypertension, a smoker, drink alcohol (above moderate consumption), and are considered overweight — you are at an elevated risk for a cardiac event."


Know Your Risks

middle-aged man chatting with doctor

"Having an annual checkup is very important for your heart health," Dr. Curry-Winchell reminds us. "A physical exam allows your health provider the opportunity to listen to your heart (potentially identify abnormal sounds such as a murmur or irregular rhythm), discuss your personal, and family health risks for a heart attack."


Stay Active

middle-aged woman jogging in winter in a close up low angle view against a sunny blue sky in a healthy active lifestyle

Dr. Curry-Winchell states, "As my dad always says, keep moving! Movement is key! An exercise regimen (even a short walk a day) will help your heart stay healthy. "


Eat the Colors of the Rainbow

baked vegetables

"A diet of heart healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables (rainbow colored are best), rich fibers, clean proteins, and whole grains will go a long way in keeping your heart health on top," Dr. Curry-Winchell says.


Don't Ignore a New Symptom

Woman feeling headache and touching her head.

Dr. Curry-Winchell shares, "Be aware if you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your chest, neck, jaw, back or have any difficulty breathing (shortness of breath), nausea, vomiting or notice any new symptoms such as fatigue or lightheadedness. You know your body the best, if you think something is wrong — get it checked out!"

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