To prevent angina caused by atherosclerosis, it is important to try to decrease the risk factors that lead to coronary artery disease.
What Medications Help Lower Heart Risk Factors?
If you have atherosclerosis, your health care team may recommend a “baby” aspirin daily because it helps blood flow through blood vessels. If you have had a heart attack or stroke, aspirin will help prevent another one and potentially help you live longer.
Important reminder: Don’t stop or start taking any medication without talking to your care team first.
Statins help reduce levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), also called the “bad” cholesterol, in your blood. Too much LDL cholesterol in your blood means that there is a greater chance of it being inside the blood vessels in the heart or in the brain. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
If you have had a heart attack or stroke, statins will help prevent another one and help you live longer. Even if you have not had a heart attack or stroke, statins may decrease the chances of a cardiac event in certain people, including those with angina.
What Can I Do to Prevent Angina?
Lifestyle changes are also important in preventing heart disease and angina. These include:
- Control blood pressure: Keep your blood pressure readings within a healthy range with lifestyle changes and medications, if needed.
- Stop Smoking: Smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S. Quitting smoking also is one of the best changes you can make to help prevent a heart attack.
- Exercise: Staying active is important for your heart. You should try to exercise (brisk walking, running, or biking) for 30 minutes at least five times a week. This can reduce blood pressure, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, and improve control of sugar, called glucose, in your blood.
- Healthy diet: Everyone – especially if you have heart disease or a higher chance of developing heart disease – should eat a well-balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and lean meats. Stay away from sugary beverages, refined grains, and processed or red meats.
- Stress reduction: Stress is physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension. Low to moderate levels of stress can be healthy by increasing motivation and productivity. However, chronic high levels of stress can lead to heart disease and angina. A well-balanced life is important for heart health. If you experience stress that causes or worsens your symptoms of angina, talk about these symptoms with your health care professional.