In order 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?
Your health professional may recommend a “baby” aspirin daily because it helps blood flow through blood vessels. In addition, if you have had a heart attack or stroke, aspirin will help prevent another one and potentially help you live longer.
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 Else Can I Do to Prevent Angina?
Lifestyle modifications are also extremely important in preventing heart disease and angina. These include:
- Control blood pressure: Keep your blood pressure readings within a healthy range using medications and lifestyle changes.
- Smoking cessation: Smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S. Quitting smoking also is one of the most effective changes anyone can make to prevent a second heart attack.
- Exercise: Staying active is important for your heart. You should try to get 10,000 steps in a day or try to exercise (brisk walking, running, or biking) for 30 minutes at least five times a week. This can reduce blood pressure, increase HDL (healthy) cholesterol, and improve glucose control.
- Healthy diet: Anyone who has heart disease or who is at increased risk of developing heart disease should eat a well-balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and lean meats. You should avoid 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 be dangerous and increase the rate of cholesterol plaque buildup and narrowing in the coronary arteries, leading to heart disease and angina. Leading a well-balanced life is vital to heart health. If you experience stress that causes or worsens your symptoms of angina, discuss these symptoms with your health care professional.
Published: August 2017
Editorial Team Lead: Susan A. Matulevicius, MD, FACC
Medical Contributors and Reviewers: Ashish Aneja, MBBS, FACC; Nkechinyere Ijioma, MBBS, FACC; Antoine T. Jenkins, PHARMD; Nisha Jhalani, MD, FACC; Ion S. Jovin, MD, FACC; Ajay J. Kirtane, MD, FACC; Dorothy L. Murphy, NP, AACC