Heart DiseaseHeart AttackHeart Attack Causes

Let's Talk About the Causes of Heart Attack

Some risk factors, like smoking, can be changed. Others, like age and genetics, just come with the territory of being alive.

    Our Pro PanelHeart Attack Causes

    We went to some of the nation's top experts in heart attack to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Guy Mintz, M.D.

    Guy Mintz, M.D.Director of Cardiovascular Health & Lipidology

    Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital
    Manhasset, NY
    Michael Goyfman M.D., MPH

    Michael Goyfman M.D., MPHDirector of Clinical Cardiology

    Long Island Jewish Forest Hills
    Queens, NY
    David Friedman, M.D.

    David Friedman, M.D.Director of Heart Failure Services

    Northwell Health’s LIJ Valley Stream
    Long Island, NY

    Frequently Asked QuestionsHeart Attack Causes

    When should I talk to my doctor about my heart attack risk factors?

    At the earliest opportunity and at every primary care and/or gynecology visit. Be proactive: Pursue the discussion at least once each year. Get ahead of your risk factors by knowing which you may have and what to do about them.

    What numbers should I pay particular attention to so I can prevent a heart attack?

    Maintain a healthy weight. And review your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol numbers with your doctor. Ideal numbers for blood pressure are 120/80, or less. Fasting blood sugar should be 99mg/dL, or lower. And healthy cholesterol levels mean LDL that’s under 100, with HDL being 60 or higher.

    Will I need to take medications to control my risk factors for heart attack?

    Maybe. For some people, lifestyle adjustments, such as diet and exercise, can get you where you need to be. But your doctor may determine you need medications to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol, for example. Keep in mind that a consistent healthy lifestyle eventually may reduce the need for such medications.

    Do my other health conditions increase my risk of heart attack?

    Diabetes is not the only disease that can harm your heart. Chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease boost your chances of heart disease as well. Make sure you tell your doctor about any health conditions you have.

    Matt McMillen

    Matt McMillen

    Matt McMillen has been a freelance health reporter since 2002. In that time he’s covered everything from acupuncture to the Zika virus.