our Heart Attack Prevention Plan
1. Attack Your Cardio
Run hard, don't just jog. "Exercise increases your heart's efficiency, reducing the number of heart beats you need to achieve bloodflow," says John Elefteriades, M.D., the chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Yale University. Interval training can increase your heart's stroke volume (the amount of blood it pumps with each heart beat) by about 10 percent, but slower, sustained running has no effect on it, according to an American College of Sports Medicine study. Try a four-minute run at 90 percent of your maximum heart rate, and then jog for three minutes at 70 percent. Repeat the interval three times. Do this routine three times a week, as the study participants did. Keep track with a Suunto t3c Heart Rate Monitor. ($190, suuntowatches.com)
2. Trade Massages With Her
Regular massages may soothe a rapid heart beat. Relaxation techniques reduce your body's production of adrenaline, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, stress hormones that rev up your heart in the face of danger, says Atman P. Shah, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at UCLA. A 2007 British study found that people who received an hour of reflexology treatment (a type of foot or hand massage) had rates that averaged almost 8 bpm lower than when they went without.
3. Sleep More Soundly
The neighbor's barking dog can wreak havoc on your heart rate. In a 2007 study, Australian researchers used sound to wake people multiple times. After each noise-induced arousal, heart rates spiked an average of 13 bpm. Try Hearos Xtreme Protection Series earplugs—they can reduce noise by 33 decibels. ($4, walgreens.com)
4. Don't Try to Hold It
If you gotta go, you really should go. Taiwanese researchers who studied 40 people with early heart disease found that the stress of having a full bladder steps up the heart rate by an average of 9 bpm. When your bladder expands, it increases activity in your sympathetic nervous system. This may cause your coronary vessels to constrict, forcing your heart to beat more often—all of which might boost your heart-attack risk.
5. Savor Some Snapper
In a 2007 UCLA study, people who took a 1-gram fish-oil capsule every day reduced their resting heart rates by an average of 6 bpm after just two weeks. Fish oil may help your heart respond better to your vagus nerve, which controls heart rate. The result is a slower resting heart rate and better heart-rate responsiveness, says Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard medical school. Try Nordic Naturals (nordicnaturals.com).
Before rising from bed in the morning, take your pulse. (Place the tips of your index and middle finger on your wrist, and count the beats for a minute.) Do this for three days and figure the average. A typical man's rate is about 70 bpm, but athletes' are lower. If an exercise program refers to maximum heart rate, find yours by subtracting your age from 220.
Can your heart bounce back?
The faster your heart rate drops after exercise, the lower your risk of dying of a heart attack, according to a 2005 study in the New England Journal of Medicine that followed 5,713 men for 23 years. Subtract your heart rate at one minute after a workout from the maximum heart rate you reached during the workout. If the difference is more than 35 beats per minute, you're probably not at an increased risk. Otherwise, check the numbers below to determine your risk of dying of a heart attack.
- Percentage increase in risk of sudden death due to a heart attack: 110
- Drop in heart rate one minute after exercise (measured in beats per minute): < 25
- Percentage increase in risk of sudden death due to a heart attack: 30
- Drop in heart rate one minute after exercise (measured in beats per minute): 25-30
- Percentage increase in risk of sudden death due to a heart attack: 40
- Drop in heart rate one minute after exercise (measured in beats per minute): 31 to 35
7Steps to Reduce Stroke Risk
By: Bill Gottlieb
A man's last years ought to be spent strapped to the fighting chair of a game-fisher
while battling a black marlin, not tethered to a nursing-home bed, incontinent and
"Your chance of dying is 20 percent-but you have a 40 percent chance of being
An ischemic stroke—the kind that affects most men—occurs when an artery to
But a "brain attack" is not inevitable.
"Fifty to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented," says David Wiebers, M.D.,
Strike back at stroke with these seven strategies.
Swallow Nature's Blood Thinner
Loma Linda University researchers found that men who drank five or more
But don't chug your extra H2O all at once. "You need to drink water throughout
Swig Less Soda
Unless it's the diet stuff. The Loma Linda University researchers also discovered
One theory is that sugary drinks like soda draw water out of the bloodstream,
Another explanation may be the boost in triglycerides caused by sipping liquid
Count to 3
You may have just lowered your stroke risk.
In a study published in the journal Stroke, researchers noted that of 2,100 men,
Counting to three—or reining in your racing mind in any other way—helps by
Hold Your Breath
At least when you're around a smoker. University of Auckland researchers found
It seems that carbon monoxide promotes clot formation by interfering with nitric
So on your way home, make sure you roll down the car windows and start
Research suggests that people with high blood levels of this amino acid are more
Dr. Baum recommends 1,000 micrograms (mcg) of folate, plus 25 milligrams (mg)
Pick Up an Iron Supplement
Aerobic exercise is antistroke medicine. Can't run or cycle to save your life?
If you don't already weight-train, try the American Heart Association program:
Never Miss Another Flu Shot
Think of it as a sort of stroke vaccine. French researchers found that people who
And the best time to get stuck? The first week in November. That's because
5 secrets to turning back the clock on your ticker
By Erin Hobday
I was 11, sitting at our kitchen table with my dad and two sisters, when Dad's
He slumped and fell clean off his chair, hitting the cold tile floor with a thud.
Flash forward 12 years. Dad, 51, is walking around a hospital room with
Over the past few years, cardiologists across the country have begun
Your Heart's Mortal Enemy is Often Invisible to Doctors
"I was taught in medical school that when a heart attack happens, vessels have
Why it's so dangerous: When those pimples pop, a small blood clot forms to
How to ID the problem: If you have a family history of heart disease, schedule
How to defend yourself: Toss pecans onto your salad or into your oatmeal.
An Untrained Heart Won't Reach the Finish Line
Not every heart test needs to take place in a cath lab. In a 23-year study of
Why it's so dangerous: Those men whose heart rates didn't drop by at least
How to ID the problem: Complete 10 minutes of sprints, check your heart
How to defend yourself: Improve your heart-rate variability by applying the
You've Never Even Heard of the Cholesterol that Wants You Dead
Researchers now realize that the size of cholesterol particles is even more
Why it's so dangerous: A recent study in the Journal of the American College
How to ID the problem: Ask your doctor to schedule a Vertical Auto Profile
How to defend yourself: Diet, exercise, and even statins have proven
Carbohydrates, Not Fat, are the Real Heartbreakers
The more carbohydrates you consume, the higher your blood sugar and, in
Why it's so dangerous: Insulin may not act alone. It's theorized that the
How to ID the problem: Johns Hopkins University researchers showed
How to defend yourself: Pour yourself a cabernet. According to a recent
Your Heart Might Be Misfiring
One in four men will develop an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, by the
Why it's so dangerous: "When an arrhythmia occurs, the heart stops listening
How to ID the problem: One telltale sign of an arrhythmia is a dramatic decline
How to defend yourself: One of the most common causes of arrhythmia is high
Relax--You're Not Dying
Four alarming chest sensations that can impersonate an infarction
A Fluttering or Pounding Heartbeat
"Some perfectly healthy and normal individuals may feel extra or skipped
Chest Pressure When You Swallow
If you feel a squeezing pain beneath your breastbone and it hurts to swallow,
Shooting Pain on One Side
"Sharp, fleeting pain on the left side of the chest is typically not life-threatening,"
Mild Pressure, Shortness of Breath, and Numbness
Hyperventilation is commonly mistaken for a heart attack. If the pressure in your