I Am In My Early 40s And My Father Had A Heart Attack In His 40s. What Can I Do To Prevent A Heart Attack?

Dr. Miller answers the question: 'Family History Of Heart Attack In 40s?'

ByMichael Miller, M.D., Director, Center for Preventive Cardiology, University of Maryland Medical Center
January 02, 2009, 2:26 PM

— -- Question: I am in my early 40s and my father had a heart attack in his 40s. What can I do to prevent a heart attack?

Answer: If you're in your early 40s and had a father who had a heart attack in his early 40s, it is really important to try to uncover and treat all the underlying risk factors that you may have. So that would include a history of smoking; if you're smoking, please find a mechanism for which you can successfully quit. If you are overweight, then try to work with a low saturated and no trans fats, as well as increased activity, to try to get the weight down. If you have elevated blood pressure -- that is, top number systolic over 140 -- then work again with both lifestyle and perhaps medications to bring that level of blood pressure down. And if you have any risk factors, then aspirin might be a consideration in your particular case.

Finally, if you have diabetes, then you'll need to be on medication as well, to treat both the diabetes and your higher risk. High cholesterol or low levels of the good cholesterol also may pose increased risk, and you may need to talk to your doctor about the best ways to approach those issues.

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