Q: "How do I decrease my chances of having a heart attack?"
A: You can reduce your risk of having a heart attack in several ways. Your diet often plays a key role in managing other conditions that can contribute to a heart attack. Depending on your current health, you may need a diet designed to control diabetes or cholesterol, or a diet for reducing your intake of sugar or salt. Exercise and weight loss can contribute to a healthier heart, too. Preventive care, such as an EKG and possible cardiac stress tests, also can reduce your risk of having a heart attack. You may need medications to protect your heart, such as a full-strength dose of aspirin or a baby aspirin. And some people may be started on a beta blocker, especially if they have already had a previous heart attack.
-- Dr. Helen Furr, family medicine physician, Academic Internal Medicine; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society
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