Lifestyle Changes to Manage Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and Angina
Lose Excess Weight
Excess weight puts a strain on the heart muscle, which eventually can lead to angina and coronary artery disease. If you are overweight, adopt a sensible eating plan and
Quit or Avoid Smoking
Limit Fat and Cholesterol
Diets that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol increase your risk of CAD. Saturated fat and cholesterol are found in animal products, full-fat dairy products (such as milk, cream, and cheese), lard, and palm and coconut oils, among other foods. A registered dietitian can help you reduce saturated fats and cholesterol in your diet. Good dietary choices include fresh fruits and vegetable, as well as lean meats and fish—particularly fish rich in
Limit Alcohol Intake
Alcohol intake should be limited to no more then 1 to 2 ounces a day. Small amounts of alcohol in this range may have beneficial effects such as raising your good cholesterol (HDL).
Control Blood Glucose Levels If You have Diabetes
People who have
Keep Homocysteine Levels Low
Homocysteine is an amino acid found naturally in the body. High levels in the blood are linked to CAD. Currently, scientists are not sure whether homocysteine is a cause of CAD, or just a marker. However, homocysteine levels may be reduced by an increased intake of vitamin
Maintain Normal Blood Pressure
For people who have not yet developed recognizable CAD, regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking or using a stationary bike or treadmill, is recommended. Exercise can strengthen the heart muscle and lower blood pressure and is recommended in moderation (at least 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes). However, if you already have CAD, check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
When to Contact Your Doctor
There are some common warning signs that may signal angina and CAD. Contact your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Chest pain of any kind
- Shortness of breath out of proportion to exercise or exertion
- Increased fatigue
The Homocysteine Studies Collaboration. Homocysteine and risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2002;288:2015-2022.
Libby P, Braunwald E. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders; 2007.
Wilson P. Homocysteine and coronary heart disease. How great is the hazard? JAMA. 2002;288:2042-2043.
Last reviewed July 2010 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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