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Coronary artery diseases: Lifestyle changes to prevent early heart attacks

Lifestyle changes constitute the main stay of preventing early heart attacks. To prevent heart attacks, especially in the early age group (40 years), here are the preventive strategies that experts recommend

According to health experts, the usual risk factors for heart attack are high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, smoking, drug abuse and lack of physical activity. These are the major reasons for causing coronary artery diseases at an early age.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Sharath Reddy Annam, Senior Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Director of Cath Lab, Director of CTO and Complex Coronary interventions, TAVR and Structural Heart interventions at Medicover Hospitals, suggested, “To prevent heart attacks, especially in the early age group (40 years), we recommend at least one complete comprehensive metabolic profile check around 35 years of age which makes us understand to devise individual specific preventive strategies.”

Insisting that lifestyle changes constitute the main stay of preventing early heart attacks, he advised, “Smoking is the most common reason for heart attack in early age groups, which needs to be quit completely. Alcohol, though some studies favoured controlled intake would reduce coronary artery disease, is not recommended in general as it has adverse impact on many other organs. Lack of physical activity is contributing significantly to heart attack in young. Regular physical activity, atleast ½ hour per day or 15 min twice a day for 5 days a week is well studied in preventing heart disease. Therefore, that is the minimum exercise recommended for all the individuals to prevent heart attacks at a young age.”

According to him, other modifiable risk factors like hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol can be diagnosed early by having regular yearly checkups and treating them adequately to achieve recommended goals of therapy. He recommended, “Follow-ups are paramount in bringing these metabolic abnormalities under recommended control, which are neglected by the majority of patients. Blood pressure medications are titrated in such a way to bring it below 130/ 80 mmhg for patients having diabetes or renal issues and <140/90 mmhg for other patients. For diabetes titration of medicines is done to bring fasting sugars to < 140 mg/dl, post prandial sugar to < 180 to 200, and HBA1C < 6.5 or 7. In familial hypercholesterolemia we initiate therapy when levels are more than 190 mg/dl to bring LDL levels to < 100mg/dl. However, in patients who had heart attacks or underwent stenting or bypass treatment is stepped up till LDL level drops below 70 or 50. Hence, periodic follow ups are crucial to assess and titrate medication to achieve recommended clinical goals to reduce heart attacks efficiently.”

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