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6 Shockingly Easy Ways to Prevent Heart Attack Includes New Discovery

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Six easy drug-free steps to lower your risk of heart attack

If you have a family or personal history of heart disease you might be interested in these six shockingly easy ways to protect yourself from a heart attack that does not require taking any drugs or even exercise. One finding shows brushing your teeth can help stave off heart attack in findings that are new.

Health care consumers should be interested in doing anything and everything that is non-invasive (and attainable) for staying healthy. New findings combined with what we have learned about heart attack risks from recent studies are noteworthy, especially for Baby Boomer who are aging, trying to manage cholesterol levels and already leading physically active lives for optimal heart health.

Brush your teeth to lower heart attack risk

A new study shows for the first time that taking care of your teeth and gums can significantly slow the growth of atherosclerotic plaques that form in the blood vessels leading to blockage and heart attack.

The finding that comes from researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health is “…the most direct evidence yet that modifying the periodontal bacterial profile could play a role in preventing or slowing both diseases," says Moïse Desvarieux, MD, PhD, lead author of the paper and associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School in a press release.

What that means is making sure you get a regular dental exam, floss regularly and brush your teeth properly (for two minutes) at least twice a day.

Periodontal and heart disease have been linked in past studies. Gum disease can also increase your chances of having a stroke.

This is the first study to show that bacteria that gets below the gum line even before periodontal disease develops contributes to heart attack and stroke risk.

The researchers found reducing the number of mouth bacteria directly correlated with thickening of the carotid arteries that are in the neck and supply blood to the brain. When bacteria counts were lower, the thickness of the arteries decreased.

Get your flu shot

Studies show getting the flu shot is cardioprotective. Study results show skipping flu shots was linked to a 19 percent higher chance of heart attack the following year in an investigation the included 78 706 patients. The benefit of flu vaccine for preventing heart attack was published in 2012 and highlighted again this year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.


Laugher doesn’t cost anything and is a cheap and easy intervention for reducing your risk for heart attack. Added benefits of laughter include boosting immunity and weight loss.

When we laugh we get the same benefits as aerobic activity.

According to a study conducted by University of Maryland Medical Center researcher Michael Miller, M.D., director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, “We don't recommend that you laugh and not exercise, but we do recommend that you try to laugh on a regular basis. Thirty minutes of exercise three times a week, and 15 minutes of laughter on a daily basis is probably good for the vascular system.”

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Watching a comedy, attending “Laughter Yoga” classes and spending time with happy people are all ways to laugh more that can protect from heart attack.

15 reasons to keep laughing

Eat chocolate

There is much observational evidence that dark chocolate is good for heart health.

Dark chocolate has been studied for its heart benefits and research is ongoing. A 2011 meta-analysis of studies was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that concluded “… chocolate consumption seem to be associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of cardiometabolic disorders.”

Some of the benefits associated with eating dark chocolate include decreased blood vessel inflammation, lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels and favorable cholesterol levels.

A study from scientists at the Karolinska Institute showed men who eat milk chocolate had a lower risk of stroke.

Never eat trans-fats

Any food with trans-fats should be avoided if you want to lower your risk of having a heart attack.

It has taken years to get the fats removed from our food and even some labeled no or zero-trans fats are allowed to contain some levels.

Don’t trust food labels to find trans-fats that can slow blood flow to the heart in ways discovered just within the past decade.

Look for “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils” on food labels that can tell you what you’re really eating. If the label says there are hydrogenated oils, don’t buy it.

Listen to music

Music and exercise have two things in common that can help keep your heart healthy. A study published September, 2013 shows listening to joyful music stabilized artery plaque in patients with known blockages of the heart arteries.

Listening to music and exercise both improve blood vessel function. Dong both boosts artery health even more.

Preventing heart attack is easier when you know what lifestyle interventions can really help. These five shockingly easy; drug-free tips could substantially lower your chances of heart attack. Heart attack prevention could be as easy as brushing your teeth, especially when combined with other lifestyle practices including eating a heart healthy diet and getting regular exercise.

Image credit: Pixabay



Great article Kathleen. Well done. I do know that my inflammatory CRP markers were always elevated until I had my major dental work done this year. I firmly believe that the connection between oral and cardiac health is strong.
Thanks Tracy. It really strikes home when you correlate what is going on with your own body and see changes. Not everyone would connect the dots, so to speak.
It is SO important to be in tune and read what is happening to our body, No one knows it better than you do! :-) Tracy