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Preventing Heart Problems

If you have prostate cancer and are receiving androgen deprivation therapy, the best way to prevent developing heart problems is to control your risk factors and manage existing heart disease.

Regular exercise, attention to a healthy diet, and a healthy body weight are important for everyone—especially if you are being treated with ADT.

Eat Better

Try to follow a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while limiting saturated fats and refined sugars. Weight gain and increased body fat often accompany ADT, so limiting the calories you consume through portion control is important. You may find it helpful to talk to a dietitian to learn about healthy ways to eat.

Stop Smoking

Avoid tobacco in any form (for example, smoking or chewing) and nicotine in e-cigarettes. Tobacco use is a leading cause of heart disease. Prostate cancer patients who use tobacco have a higher rate of death than prostate cancer patients who do not use tobacco.


After talking to your health care professional, you should start or continue to exercise regularly with a goal of building up to at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week. Examples of moderate-intensity activity include walking briskly, swimming, water aerobics, and tennis.

Because of the potential for increased body fat and reduced muscle mass, you should also engage in two sessions of strength training every week. Examples of strength training include light weightlifting, use of resistance bands, pushups, yoga and Pilates.

Control Other Conditions

Control high blood pressure by eating a low-salt (sodium) diet, exercising, and taking medicine if needed. If you need medicine to lower your blood pressure, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ACEI and ARBs) may be good options because some research suggests they offer better outcomes for patients with cancer, including those with prostate cancer.

Manage your cholesterol, including total-, LDL- (bad), HDL- (good) cholesterol, and triglycerides by adopting healthy habits: healthy diet, regular exercise, and weight control. If cholesterol levels are abnormal and do not improve despite lifestyle changes, you may have to start medication. Statin drugs are the most commonly used and proven agents.

If you have diabetes, it's very important to keep the condition under control and treat it aggressively, according to the American Diabetes Association guidelines. Androgen deprivation therapy can be associated with high blood sugars. As exercise and weight loss help control blood sugars, it is essential to follow a healthy diet and get regular exercise when undergoing ADT.

What About Aspirin?

In general, aspirin may be beneficial in some men as a preventive measure of cardiovascular disease, although more research is needed to better identify which men would benefit from its use.

If you already have cardiovascular disease, continue your treatment and practice healthy habits. This may include aspirin, medicine to lower cholesterol or blood pressure, or both.

Talk to your health care professional if you have any questions. Also, never start or stop taking medicine without talking to your care team.

  • Last Edited 09/30/2019