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Lifestyle and home remedies


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Procedures to restore and improve blood flow

Sometimes more aggressive treatment is needed. Here are some options:

Angioplasty and stent placement (percutaneous coronary revascularization)

Your doctor inserts a long, thin tube (catheter) into the narrowed part of your artery. A wire with a deflated balloon is passed through the catheter to the narrowed area. The balloon is then inflated, compressing the deposits against your artery walls.

A stent is often left in the artery to help keep the artery open. Most stents slowly release medication to help keep the arteries open.

Coronary artery bypass surgery

A surgeon creates a graft to bypass blocked coronary arteries using a vessel from another part of your body. This allows blood to flow around the blocked or narrowed coronary artery. Because this requires open-heart surgery, it's most often reserved for cases of multiple narrowed coronary arteries.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Lifestyle changes can help you prevent or slow the progression of coronary artery disease.

  • Stop smoking. Smoking is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease. Nicotine constricts blood vessels and forces your heart to work harder, and carbon monoxide reduces oxygen in your blood and damages the lining of your blood vessels. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack.
  • Control your blood pressure. Ask your doctor for a blood pressure measurement at least every two years. He or she may recommend more-frequent measurements if your blood pressure is higher than normal or you have a history of heart disease. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, as measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
  • Check your cholesterol. Ask your doctor for a baseline cholesterol test when you're in your 20s and at least every five years.(8, p8) If your test results aren't within desirable ranges, your doctor may recommend more-frequent measurements.(8, p8) Most people should aim for an LDL cholesterol level below 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 3.4 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).(8, p9) If you have other risk factors for heart disease, your target LDL cholesterol may be below 100 mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L).
  • Keep diabetes under control. If you have diabetes, tight blood sugar management can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Get moving. Exercise helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight and control diabetes, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure — all risk factors for coronary artery disease. With your doctor's OK, aim for about 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity. For example, try walking for about 30 minutes on most or all days of the week.
  • Participate in cardiac rehabilitation. If you've had surgery, your doctor may suggest you participate in cardiac rehabilitation — a program of education, counseling and exercise training that's designed to help improve your health.
  • Eat healthy foods. A heart-healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, that emphasizes plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts — and is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium — can help you control your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Eating one or two servings of fish a week also is beneficial.

    Avoid saturated fat and trans fat, excess salt, and excess sugar. If you drink alcohol, drink it in moderation — this means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases your risk of coronary artery disease. Losing even just a small percentage of your current weight can help reduce risk factors for coronary artery disease.
  • Manage stress. Reduce stress as much as possible. Practice healthy techniques for managing stress, such as muscle relaxation and deep breathing.
  • Get your flu shot. Get your flu (influenza) vaccine each year to reduce your risk of having influenza.

In addition to healthy lifestyle changes, remember the importance of regular medical checkups. Some of the main risk factors for coronary artery disease — high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes — have no symptoms in the early stages. Early detection and treatment can set the stage for a lifetime of better heart health.

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