U.S. expert devises heart attack prevention checklist

July 27, 2013 at 10:08 PM

BOSTON, July 27 (UPI) -- There is a lot of advice for those who have survived a heart attack, or to prevent a heart attack, but a U.S. expert has a heart attack prevention checklist.

Dr. Deepak L. Bhatt, director of the Integrated Interventional Cardiovascular Program at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital, said there are several must-do steps men need to take to prevent heart disease beyond taking a cholesterol-lowering statin or a daily baby aspirin.

"Being on aspirin and a statin won't make you bulletproof," Bhatt said in a statement. "You still could have another heart attack if you are not doing other things that are important."

Bhatt's checklist, published in the Harvard Men's Health Watch, suggests:

-- Be as physically active as possible. Any amount of exercise is better than none or very little.

-- Get a yearly flu shot. In people with heart disease, a flu infection can increase heart attack risk.

-- Drink alcohol in moderation. A standard drink or two of alcohol per day is not likely to cause harm and may help -- as long as it isn't interacting in harmful ways with a heart medication.

-- Lose weight if needed. Getting rid of that spare tire can further reduce cardiac risk, in addition to the effects of medications, exercise and good nutrition.

-- If recovering from a heart attack, sign up for cardiac rehabilitation. For men diagnosed with heart disease, cardiac rehab provides supervised exercise, nutrition counseling, training in stress reduction and positive social support.

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