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Your Heart Risk Action Plan

To reduce your risk of a future heart attack, make lifestyle changes and get treatment for these risk factors:

Smoking

  • Set a quit date within the next month.

  • Ask your healthcare provider to help quitting smoking.

  • Stay away from secondhand smoke.

High cholesterol

Man having fun with family at a picnic.

  • Take cholesterol medicines as directed.

  • Choose heart healthy foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

  • Depending on your case, your healthcare 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.

  • If you are overweight or obese, your healthcare provider will work with you to lose weight and lower your body mass index (BMI) to a normal or near-normal level. 

  • Quit smoking.

High blood pressure

  • Take blood pressure medicines as directed.

  • Reduce your sodium intake to 2,400 milligrams (mg) per day, or less as directed.

  • Depending on your case, your healthcare 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.

  • If you are overweight or obese, your healthcare provider will work with you to lose weight and lower your body mass index (BMI) to a normal or near-normal level.

  • Quit smoking.

Being overweight

  • Your healthcare provider will give you information on dietary changes that you may need to make, based on your case. Your provider may recommend that you see a registered dietitian for help with diet changes.

  • Depending on your case, your healthcare 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.

  • Use a log to track your eating and activity habits.

Diabetes

  • Take diabetes medicines or insulin as instructed.

  • Test blood sugar as directed.

  • Depending on your case, your healthcare 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.

  • If you are overweight or obese, your healthcare provider will work with you to lose weight and lower your body mass index (BMI) to a normal or near-normal level.

  • Take a diabetes education class.

Stress, anger, and depression

  • Stay in touch with family and friends.

  • Consider starting counseling or joining a support group.

  • Depending on your case, your healthcare 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.

Lack of exercise

  • Work with a healthcare provider to create an exercise program.

  • Join a cardiac rehab program.

  • Depending on your case, your healthcare 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.

How to make changes

  • Encourage family members and friends to make changes with you. This supports you and benefits them, as well.

  • Don’t try too much too soon. Get comfortable with one change before tackling another.

  • If you’re discouraged, focus on how good you’ll feel once you’ve made a change.

  • Reward yourself when you’ve successfully made a change. Treat yourself to a meal at your favorite restaurant or buy that new book or pair of shoes you wanted.

Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Gandelman, Glenn, MD, MPH
Last Review Date: 6/1/2016
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