Healthy Habits and Medication Can Help Heart Conditions

Julia Little  |  November 16, 2011

People who have had a heart attack or stroke, or have a high risk of experiencing one of these conditions, will benefit from the new joint guidelines from the American College of Cardiology Foundation and the American Heart Association.

As reported on, adopting healthy habits such as getting at least 30 minutes of exercise five to seven days a week, stopping smoking and losing weight can help people with heart problems live longer, improve their quality of life and lower the chances they will have a repeat attack or need artery-opening surgery, the guidelines say.

In addition, the guidelines recommend that older adults with these heart conditions get an annual flu shot and take low-dose aspirin daily, unless a physician recommends a higher dosage or different medication.

"Unless improvements are made in your behavior and medical therapy, the same blood vessel problem that caused your first heart attack or stroke can occur again - and may result in death - so long-term changes need to be initiated to get the vascular disease under control," said Dr. Sidney C. Smith, Jr., chair of the guideline writing group and professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. 

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