Don’t smoke. This is hardly startling news, but dropping the habit is a must if you want to lessen your chance of angina pain. Smoking fuels the underlying fire of heart disease. It stokes the furnace.
Smoking is a major cause of arteriosclerosis, or plaque buildup, in your arteries. It also increases blood pressure, constricts blood vessels, and lessens blood flow in the coronary arteries of your heart – the very mechanisms that lead to angina pain.
Cigarette smoke also contains carbon monoxide, which inhibits your body’s ability to use oxygen effectively. The more you smoke, the more you rob your body and, especially, your heart of the capacity to get oxygen.
Don’t eat that burger. Some studies show that you can stop – and maybe even reverse – plaque deposits with an extremely low fat diet, one where fat makes up less than 10 percent of daily calories. Talk with your doctor or a nutritionist. Then change your diet. Eat less red meat and more fish. Strongly consider a vegetarian diet. Stay away from processed foods. Add more whole grains and vegetables to your diet. Choose low-fat over high-fat items.
Even if you’re older and have already had a heart attack, it’s not too late to make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of a second heart attack or worsening of your heart disease.
Get a tune-up. Increase your physical activity, and you’ll improve the ability of your body to tolerate work, leisure, and recreational interests. There are several benefits to regular exercise and increased physical activity. Even by adding a little activity at a time, you may enjoy improvements in muscular strength, endurance, joint flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, and body composition. Increased physical activity increases oxygen use and your body’s ability to move blood through your arteries.
It’s comparable to getting better gas mileage after you tune up your car. Tune up your body and it works more efficiently. You won’t need to use as much fuel in this case, oxygen – to climb those stairs as you did before. You’ll be a more efficient machine. This is important to people who may experience symptoms with activity, such as shortness of breath and fatigue. Regular exercise, designed with your individual needs in mind, may lessen these symptoms.
There’s no lack of scientific evidence showing the benefits of exercise. The more you exercise, the less likely you’ll have heart problems. Even if you’re already getting angina attack or recovering from a first heart attack, its never too late to start.
Walking is recommended. It’s easy to do. You can start slowly and gradually build up how long and how far you walk.
Put on your hat. Going outside on a cold or windy day can trigger an angina attack. The cold air on your skin causes blood vessels to constrict, which may in turn increase oxygen demand on your heart. Patients are always told to dress properly in cold weather. Wear a hat, mittens, and a scarf. Don’t expose a lot of skin to the cold.