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Controlling Your Risk Factors After Bypass Surgery

Managing coronary artery disease

After surgery, the blood flow to your heart is better, but new blockages can still form. You need to take steps to prevent this. By committing yourself to managing your risk factors for coronary artery disease, commonly called heart disease, you can help keep new blockages from forming. This will lower your changes of needing another bypass surgery.

Controlling risk factors

To manage heart disease, you must control as many risk factors as you can. Work with your health care provider to identify your risk factors and to get them under control.

Your health care provider will work with you to modify lifestyle factors as needed to help prevent profression of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), which may be the cause of your chest pain (angina). Factors you may need to work on include:


Woman leaning over a stove, smelling food in a spoon. The spoon is held by a young girl.

Your health care provider will give you information on dietary changes that you may need to make, based on your situation. Your provider may recommend that you see a registered dietitian for help with diet changes. Changes may include:

  • Reducing fat and cholesterol intake

  • Reducing sodium (salt) intake, especially if you have high blood pressure

  • Increasing your intake of fresh vegetables and fruits

  • Eating lean proteins, such as fish, poultry, and legumes (beans and peas) and eating less red meat and processed meats

  • Using low-fat dairy products

  • Using vegetable and nut oils in limited amounts

  • Limiting sweets and processed foods such as chips, cookies, and baked goods

Physical activity

Two women walking outdoors.Your health care provider may recommend that you increase your physical activity if you have not been as active as possible. Depending on your situation, your provider may recommend that you include moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity for at least 40 minutes each day for at least 3 to 4 days per week. A few examples of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity include:

  • Walking at a brisk pace, about 3 to 4 miles per hour

  • Jogging or running

  • Swimming or water aerobics

  • Hiking

  • Dancing

  • Martial arts

  • Tennis

  • Riding a bike or stationary bike

Weight management

If you are overweight or obese, your health care provider will work with you to lose weight and lower your body mass index (BMI) to a normal or near-normal level. Making diet changes and increasing physical activity can help.

Online Medical Reviewer: Foster, Sara, RN, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Image reviewed by StayWell art team.
Online Medical Reviewer: Trevino, Heather M, BSN, RNC
Last Review Date: 3/27/2014
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