PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle can help prevent episodes of ventricular fibrillation, primarily by reducing your risk of heart attack. A heart-healthy lifestyle includes:
- Not smoking. If you smoke, the single most important thing you can do to improve your heart's health is to stop. It's hard to stop smoking by yourself, so ask your doctor to prescribe a treatment plan to help you kick the habit.
- Checking your cholesterol. Have your blood cholesterol levels checked regularly, through a blood test at your doctor's office. If "bad" cholesterol levels are undesirably high, your doctor can prescribe changes to your diet and medications to help lower the numbers and protect your cardiovascular health.
- Controlling your blood pressure. Have your blood pressure checked every two years. Your doctor may recommend more-frequent measurements if you have high blood pressure or a history of coronary artery disease.
- Exercising regularly. Regular exercise helps improve heart muscle function after a heart attack. Exercise helps prevent a heart attack by helping you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and control diabetes, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure. Exercise doesn't have to be vigorous. For example, walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can improve your health.
- Maintaining a healthy weight. Excess weight strains your heart and can contribute to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Losing weight can lower your risk of heart disease.
- Eating a heart-healthy diet. Too much saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet can narrow arteries to your heart. Follow your doctor's or dietitian's advice on eating a heart-healthy diet. Prepare heart-healthy meals together as a family. Fish is part of a heart-healthy diet. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help improve blood cholesterol levels and prevent blood clots. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants — nutrients that help prevent everyday wear and tear on your coronary arteries.
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- How the heart works. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/hhw/hhw_all.html. Accessed Aug. 17, 2011.