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Alternative treatments and lifestyle changes can improve your heart health and reduce your risk of a heart attack. A healthy diet and lifestyle are essential in maintaining a healthy heart. But it’s important to ensure that lifestyle changes don’t interfere with medications you may be taking. So always consult your doctor before trying any alternative treatments.
Alternative treatments aren’t appropriate when heart attack symptoms are present. A heart attack is a life-threatening event and symptoms should be immediately treated by trained emergency medical providers.
While the following treatments are not to be used during an actual or suspected heart attack, they might be used to reduce your risk of having a heart attack. They can also be part of a holistic treatment plan after you have experienced a heart attack.
Studies have shown that daily meditation can reduce stress and lower blood pressure, which are risk factors for coronary artery disease and heart attack. There are many forms of meditation, including:
Any of these can be beneficial. It’s also not necessary to follow any particular form of meditation. You might just sit comfortably, close your eyes, and repeat a word or phrase for about 20 minutes. The idea is to quiet your mind and to let your mind and body connect and relax.
A healthy diet is a necessary aspect of heart health and is crucial in preventing coronary artery disease and heart attacks. In general, maintaining a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is an effective way to maintain a healthy heart. Stay away from processed foods and those that are high in fat and sugar.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week. This type of fat can reduce the risk of heart disease. These fats are found in cold-water fish like salmon, herring, sardines, and mackerel.
Up to 90 percent of Americans don’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their diets. Supplements can also be taken to ensure adequate intake. But omega-3 supplements should be taken under a doctor’s supervision, as high doses can cause bleeding.
Always use fatty acid supplements with caution if you have a bleeding disorder, bruise easily, or are taking drugs that interfere with blood clotting, such as warfarin or aspirin.
Exercise is important for maintaining heart health. It helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and control weight. It doesn’t need to be strenuous exercise. Walking for 30 minutes, five times a week can make a noticeable difference.
Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. If you have had a heart attack, you want to be sure your heart is ready for exercise.
There are many simple lifestyle changes you can make to prevent heart attacks and maintain a healthy life after a heart attack. But it’s important to remember that alternative treatments should not be used if you are experiencing heart attack symptoms. Instead you should seek immediate medical attention.
Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Medically reviewed on: Dec 12, 2016: Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, CNE, COI
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