Primary prevention Myocardial infarction

Primary Prevention of Myocardial Infarction (MI)

Myocardial infarction (MI), commonly referred to as a heart attack, is a major leading cause of death and serious illness around the world. Prevention is, therefore, critical for reducing these risks, and while medications, such as aspirin, and treatments like angioplasty and coronary bypass are important elements of prevention, the first and foremost step in preventing MI should be primary prevention.

Primary prevention involves lifestyle changes and dietary modifications, such as:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Adopting a heart-healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation
  • Reducing stress levels

These changes may seem simple, but they can have a profound impact on reducing one's risk of developing MI. Implementing this lifestyle change will not only reduce one's risk for MI, it can also significantly improve your overall health. Some may find it difficult to make these changes long-term; counseling or other support from healthcare professionals can be invaluable in these cases.

In addition to the lifestyle changes above, recently developed treatments may offer some additional protection.

  • Statins (or cholesterol-lowering agents) have been proven to help lower cholesterol levels, and this has helped reduce the frequency of MI in some individuals.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications are used to reduce inflammation, which can help reduce the risk of MI.
  • Beta blockers and calcium channel blockers are also commonly prescribed to help reduce blood pressure, which can help reduce the risk of MI.

Finally, it is important to seek medical attention for any sign or symptom of MI. Most people who experience the classic symptoms of MI (e.g. chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, etc.) will seek medical help right away. Early diagnosis is key to successful treatment, and while primary prevention is the first line of defense, immediate medical attention is the best course of action for those who think they are having a heart attack.