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Reducing Risk

Following the guidelines below, symptoms of heart disease can be detected early and reversed by lifestyle changes and/or medication.

Stop Smoking

Your risk of a heart attack decreases within a year after quitting.  A recent study found that only three years after quitting, ex-smokers had the same risk of a heart attack as people who never had smoked.

Regular Medical Checkups

Regular medical checkups can spot some of the warning signs of heart disease.  Know your risk factors and ask your doctor what tests are appropriate for you, and how often you need them.

Adopt a Healthy Eating Plan

Adopt a healthy eating plan that emphasizes lots of whole grains, fruit and vegetables and minimizes fats.  The American Heart Association recommends the following guidelines:  limit total fat intake to less than 25 percent of your daily calories; limit saturated fats to less than 10 percent of daily calories; and limit cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams per day.

Regular Aerobic Exercise

Regular aerobic exercise (the kind that gives your heart and lungs a workout) for 30-60 minutes at least three times a week increases oxygen consumption, raises HDLs, lower LDLs, reduces blood pressure, boosts energy and reduces stress.

Control High Triglycerides

The best advice to control high triglycerides is familiar:  lose weight and exercise regularly, reduce cholesterol and saturated fat as well as total calories in your diet, decrease your intake of alcohol and control any other risk factors–such as high blood pressure and smoking–since they multiply the danger of high blood triglycerides.


There is some evidence that shows that a high intake of folate and vitamin B6 appears to reduce levels of homocysteine, a substance found in the blood that, in large amounts, may be associated with a higher risk of heart disease.  Aim to get about 400 micrograms of folate and around three milligrams of vitamin B6 daily by taking supplements or eating fortified cereals, spinach and other leafy green vegetables.  Take 400 I.U. daily of vitamin E.