Preventing Heart Disease


The key to understanding cardiac health is to understand how to prevent cardiac disease. A healthy lifestyle will help reduce or eliminate heart as well as other medical problems.

Eat healthy:

  • Choose low saturated fat, trans fat foods.
  • Limit sodium intake – less than 2,300 mg or 1 tsp of salt per day.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Consume fiber-rich whole grains
  • Fish, nuts, legumes and seeds.
  • Try eating some meals without meat.
  • Skinless poultry
  • Lower fat dairy products
  • Limit sugary beverages
  • If red meat, choose lean cuts.

Physical activity:

If you haven’t been regularly exercising, start slow and gradually work up to the following recommended levels:

  • At least 2 ½ hours of moderate exercise (brisk walking) per week, or
  • 1 ¼ hours of intensive exercise (jogging, running) per week.
  • 2 or more days of strength and resistance training exercise per week.
  • Before beginning any exercise program, consult your doctor for guidance.  

Regular visits to a qualified medical professional:

  • Establish relationship with a doctor and make sure you reveal all medical history including family history of heart disease (and other medical concerns).
  • Routine physical examinations as follows:
  • Age 20s and 30s – every three years
  • Age 40s – every two years
  • Age 50 and over – every year
    - OR -
  • As recommended by your physician depending on your health.
  • Follow your physician’s recommendations for a treatment plan:
  • Take prescriptions and other medications as indicated.
  • Follow dietary recommendations
  • Practice exercise activity level indicated.  

Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Avoid being around others who do smoke.

If you do smoke, quit. Contact your physician or one of the following for help:

Maintain a healthy weight:

  • Regular exercise
  • Proper diet

Manage Stress

Learn techniques for controlling stress and the effects it may have on your health:

  • Planning ahead so you don’t always rush to get things done.
  • Plenty of sleep – between six and eight hours per night.
  • Recognize things that are stressing but don’t need to be. What will happen if you don’t get that done on time?
  • Talk to your friends to take your mind off of stressors.
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Meditation and/or take time out to relax
  • Take time out for yourself and do something you enjoy
  • Set up goals for yourself to accomplish something that is not related to the stressors. Refocus when possible.  

Learn the warning signs of heart attacks and stroke:


Warning signs of a heart attack are:

  • Pain or Discomfort in the center of the chest lasting for more than a few minutes or may come and go. The pain feels like fullness, pain, squeezing or pressure.
  • Discomfort in arm or shoulder with or without the chain discomfort.  
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest pain.
  • Pain in the back, neck or jaw.
  • Lightheadedness, vomiting or nausea, cold sweats.

Warning signs of a stroke are:

  • Face drooping or numbness in the face.
  • Arm weakness or numb
  • Speech difficulty – slurred or hard to understand speech, unable to speak.

In either case, seek emergency medical care immediately, call 911.

If you are not experiencing the above symptoms, but have concerns about your heart health, contact your Primary Care Physician (PCP) to schedule an appointment. Perhaps you have a history of heart disease in your family but are not sure if the minor aches you have are cardiac related. You can express these concerns to your PCP. If they believe further examination by a Cardiologist is warranted, they will refer you to our office.