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Heart Attack Causes and Treatments

(continued)

Nutrition and Diet After a Heart Attack continued...

Much evidence suggests that unstable chemical compounds known as free radicals make the body more vulnerable to heart attack by striking the heart and coronary arteries and promoting atherosclerosis. Free radicals can be neutralized by antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E. Fruits, vegetables, and grains supply many of the antioxidant vitamins.

Omega-3 fatty acids have also received a lot of attention for being heart healthy by lessening inflammation in the body. Omega-3s can be found in olive oil, canola oil, walnuts, and flax seed. However, omega-3 fatty acids are probably best known for being in certain types of fish like salmon, tuna, herring, and mackerel. A landmark 2006 study showed that a modest intake of fish can reduce the risk of dying from a heart attack by a whopping 36%.

Eating root vegetables such as carrots may also help prevent heart attack. These vegetables lower cholesterol over the long term and reduce blood-clotting activity.

At-Home Remedies After a Heart Attack

  • Remember: Having a heart attack does not make you an invalid. You can best heal your heart by remaining active.
  • Do not take birth-control pills if you have had a heart attack; they are linked to increased blood-clotting activity.
  • Consider getting a pet. Pet owners recover more quickly from heart attacks -- probably because of reduced stress levels -- and tend to live longer than people without pets. Just be sure to choose a pet that fits your lifestyle.

 

Heart Attack Prevention

  • Stay in touch with friends and family. Research shows that people with poor social support are more vulnerable to heart disease. Also, seek ways to control feelings of anger and hostility; these emotions may add to heart attack risk.
  • Assess your heart attack risk profile and make appropriate changes to diet and lifestyle early.
  • Talk with your doctor about taking an aspirin daily. Studies have shown that this regimen significantly reduces the risk of a heart attack. Your doctor may prescribe other drugs as well.

 

Call Your Doctor About a Heart Attack if:

  • You or someone you are with has signs of a heart attack. Seek emergency help without delay.
  • Your angina (chest pain) no longer responds to medication; this may indicate that a heart attack is under way.
  • Your angina attacks become more frequent, prolonged, and severe; as angina worsens, the risk of heart attack increases.
  • You are taking aspirin to prevent heart attack and your stool appears black and tarry. This may indicate gastrointestinal bleeding and could be a sign that aspirin has thinned your blood too much, a problem that can and should be corrected.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Thomas M. Maddox, MD on July 14, 2012
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