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.