ABCD of preventing heart attack


prevent-Heart-attackHeart Attack continues to be the nation’s leading killer for both men and women, as per National Institutes of Health (NIH).  I remember an incident that happened couple of years back when I went to meet my colleague to hospital Apollo, which is one of the leading hospitals in India.  He was admitted to Apollo in an emergency state due to a heart attack.  I could not believe and thought how 24 years old young man can suffer with heart attack?  When I entered the patient’s room, I heard that cardio surgeon was advising him what to do or what not to do so that he can prevent another heart attack in the future.  Though he recovered faster with today’s advanced technologies but he became a heart patient for rest of his life.


I was reading Johns Hopkins White paper book on cardiac diseases and I found the ABC’s to prevent heart attack.  I could not stop myself and thought I must share this piece of information with my readers.  Here are the ABC’s of heart attack prevention recommended by the cardiologists at Johns Hopkins:


aspirinAspirin:  A daily low-dose aspirin (75–160 mg/day) is advised for people with an elevated risk of a heart attack, unstable angina, ischemic stroke (caused by blood clot) if not contraindicated.  In some individuals, a dose of 325 mg is recommended.


You should not start aspirin therapy without first consulting your physician. The risks and benefits of aspirin therapy vary for each person. There was a study that revealed that prolonged use of aspirin in healthy patients can be detrimental.


blood-pressureBlood Pressure:  Maintain your blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg (and ideally less than 120/80 mm Hg). If you have diabetes or kidney disease, make sure your blood pressure is less than 130/80 mm Hg.  


High blood pressure increases the risk of coronary artery disease (also called atherosclerosis) because high blood pressure puts added force against the artery walls. Over time, this extra pressure can damage the arteries. These injured arteries are more likely to become narrowed and hardened by fatty deposits.  Damaged arteries cannot deliver enough blood and hence oxygen to other parts of the body. For this reason, high blood pressure can be harmful for your brain and kidneys. High blood pressure also increases the risk for stroke, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness. atherosclerosis


If you’re unable to reach these goals after three to six months of lifestyle changes, consult your doctor for a prescription to lower blood pressure.


Cholesterol:  Your total cholesterol should be below 200 mg/dL. Keep your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol well under 160 mg/dL if you are at low risk for a heart attack, below 130 mg/dL if you are at moderate risk for a heart attack, and less than 100 mg/dL...

if you are at high risk for a heart attack (and ideally lower than 70 mg/dL if you’re at very high risk, for example, because of a recent heart attack or stroke). Your HDL (“good”) cholesterol should be 40 mg/dL or greater if you are a man and 50 mg/dL or more if you are a woman (and preferably 60 mg/dL or higher). Your triglyceride level should be under 150 mg/dL.




Cholesterol is a fat-like substance which is present in your blood.  LDL (bad cholesterol) has a nature to get slicked on the walls of your arteries. Over time, this buildup causes “hardening of the arteries” so that arteries become narrowed and blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by a blockage, the result is a heart attack.


If you are unable to reach your LDL goal after three to nine months of lifestyle changes, your doctor may prescribe medication. Exercise, dietary modifications, and possibly medication can help you meet your HDL goal. Losing excess weight, exercising regularly, and medication can help reduce your triglyceride level.


weight-checkDiet and Weight Control:  Consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fish, beans, poultry, and lean meats. Saturated fats should make up less than 7% of total calories; trans fats, less than 1%. If you’re overweight, reduce your calorie intake and increase your physical activity to achieve and maintain a desirable body weight (a BMI below 25).


Diet is the primarily concern for keeping a check on the fat content. I have described in details in my previous post about diet to reduce cholesterol level effectively.


excerciseExercise:  Perform at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, on five days each week. Exercising for longer periods (60-90 minutes a day) or more vigorously can provide additional benefits, including weight loss if that’s one of your goals.


The ABCs is an easy-to-remember checklist of the steps you can take to prevent a heart attack.  The take home message is that we all must consider regular health check up to have knowledge about normal Blood pressure, cholesterol levels and weight.  If possible, we must take a walk or do exercise on regular basis.  Hope you will find the information useful for you and for your family.  I would be happy to hear back from you through your valuable comments and suggestions on the post.


Healthy living!



6 Responses

  1. Roy Tirosh says:

    Great Blog, thanks for taking the time and informing.
    i have some remarks regarding the trends in prevention, first i would begin in the conventional markers:
    1) HTN: in a ltest review Dr Jose Agustin Arguedas reviewed seven trials with more than 22 000 subjects comparing lower or standard diastolic BP targets, but they were unable to identify any studies comparing different systolic BP targets. “We found there is no evidence that reaching a target of below 90 mm Hg diastolic BP will provide additional clinical benefit, but we can’t say whether lowering systolic BP below 140 mm Hg will be beneficial or not; there are no data.”
    i think that is surprising, to say the least.
    2) i think that if we will gp deeper to the literature we will find similar results in both cholesterol levels and glucose.
    NOW i do think that prevention is a must. i do think that that BP and cholesterol and glucose should be monitored and kept within balance; BUT some of it is a partial picture.
    we need to think more on other parameters as well: IMT, arterial stiffness, endothelial function (which is close to my heart and work:) and more.


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