Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Every year, about 735,000 Americans experience a heart attack. Of those, 525,000 are a first heart attack, while 210,000 occur in men and women who have previously suffered a heart attack.

A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle becomes severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens when coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood flow become narrow due to a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances, collectively called plaque. About every 43 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack.heart attack 2

Actively working to prevent a heart attack is necessary to maintain your overall health and lower your risk of heart disease. Making smart lifestyle choices now, regardless of your age, will pay off for the rest of your life. A study conducted at the Karolinska Institute found that engaging in these five healthy lifestyle habits could prevent nearly 80% of first-time heart attacks:

1. Maintain a Healthy Diethealthy food 2

Choose foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats and sodium. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, and limit your meat intake. If you choose to eat meat, select the leanest cuts available. Limiting sugar intake is also vital to preventing heart disease. A study published in JAMA: Internal Medicine, found that those who got 17-21% of calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, compared to those who consumed only 8% of their calories from added sugar. You may also want to consider adding certain foods to your diet that can help unclog arteries.

2. Exerciseexercise 3

An inactive lifestyle is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease. Regular exercise helps reduce the risk of heart and blood vessel disease, while controlling blood cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. Lowering body weight, blood pressure and insulin sensitivity through regular exercise can help dramatically reduce your chances of developing heart disease and experiencing a heart attack.

3. Ditch the Alcoholalcohol beer 2

Drinking alcohol excessively can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. The recommended amount is no more than two drinks a day for men under the age of 65. For women of all ages, and men older than age 65, the recommended amount is no more than one drink a day. Drinking too much alcohol can raise levels of triglycerides in the blood, possibly leading to high blood pressure and heart failure.

4. Quit Smokingstop smoking

A smoker’s risk of developing coronary heart disease is much higher than a non-smoker’s. Cigarette smoking is a main risk factor for sudden cardiac death in patients with coronary heart disease, and it also acts with other risk factors to greatly increase heart disease risk. Quitting smoking can improve your HDL cholesterol levels. Within one year of quitting, you can reduce your risk of heart disease to half of that of a smoker. It’s never too late to quit.

5. Maintain a Healthy Weighthealthy weight

People who are overweight or obese are much more likely to develop heart disease, even if they have no other risk factors. Being obese can raise blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lower good cholesterol levels, increase blood pressure and even induce diabetes. Choosing healthy foods and being physically active can help you lose weight and lower your risk of a heart attack.

Many foods promote heart health, including avocados!


Healthy Food Team
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
American Heart Association
American Heart Association
David Wolfe
American Heart Association
American Heart Association
RTT News
National Institutes of Health
American Heart Association