For many people, keeping your heart and arteries as healthy as possible is a two-part process involving prevention and treatment. Whether you have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or wish to minimize your risk factors, your doctors and other healthcare providers can work with you to identify the best choices for you among a range of treatment and prevention options.
You may think of prevention as doing everything you can to avoid getting cardiovascular disease in the first place. That’s one form of prevention, but there is also another form of prevention aimed at controlling cardiovascular disease.
Types of Prevention
Essentially, there are two types of prevention:
- Primary prevention, where the goal is to stop or slow cardiovascular disease before an event such as a heart attack or stroke; and
- Secondary prevention, where the goal is to prevent a repeat event in a patient who has already had a heart attack, stroke or other serious cardiovascular problem.
Preventing an initial or repeat cardiovascular event is a team effort among you, your physician and other medical professionals. Lifestyle changes, such as incorporating physical activity and eating a heart-healthy diet, are central to prevention. Additionally, you may be prescribed medications to prevent a heart attack or stroke. And you will certainly need to take medications if you have already had a heart attack or stroke.
Not sure where to start? Well, the first step is to identify healthcare providers that are right for you. These doctors and nurses will be your team, working with you to identify risk factors for cardiovascular disease, develop a strategy for managing the risk factors you can change and, if necessary, recommending tests and/or treatments that are right for you, depending on your unique situation and preferences.
Follow these links to learn more:
Take heathy living to heart. Whether your goal is to prevent heart disease in the first place (primary prevention) or to manage the heart disease you have to prevent a heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease or other problems (secondary prevention), it's never too late to make changes in your lifestyle that will help your heart. Get started today by visiting the SecondsCount Healthy Living Center. This center is packed with information about opportunities we all have to live a healthy life. The key is to start slow, make changes gradually and work with your healthcare team. Here’s to your long, healthy life!
- Learn about risk factors for cardiovascular disease. There are risk factors no one can control, such as age, gender and family history. But there are also many risk factors that you may be able to eliminate or manage – especially if you work with your healthcare providers to develop a plan. Click here for information on risk factor modification.
- Expand your heart-smarts by learning about the different types of cardiovascular disease, tests and treatment options. Follow these links to get heart smart: