Lifestyle for a Healthy HeartAfter bypass surgery, most people experience partial or complete remission of symptoms for as long as 10-15 years. Unfortunately, having had a bypass operation doesn't mean that your arteries won't become blocked again. Unless you take positive steps to prevent it, it's likely that other arteries or the new grafts you've received will become clogged, and you will have to undergo angioplasty or have bypass surgery again.
Fortunately, it's in your power to greatly reduce the risk that you will have a heart attack or require another bypass operation. For heart disease, prevention is the best medicine.
By eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and fiber, you can help lower high blood cholesterol. Medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, if uncontrolled, can severely damage your blood vessels. And if you smoke, quit now, smoking or using tobacco in any form accelerates atherosclerosis. Exercise is vitally important. Like any other muscle in your body, your heart benefits from exercise, which increases the amount of HDL cholesterol in the blood and reduces the level of LDL cholesterol. Exercise helps to you to maintain a healthy weight. And exercise reduces stress, which has been found to raise cholesterol levels.
You can help protect your heart by:
- Quitting smoking
- Losing weight if overweight
- Eating a healthy diet with few saturated fats and no trans fats; more fruits, vegetables, and fiber; and moderate alcohol intake
- Exercising regularly (30-45 minutes, 3-5 times per week)
- Controlling diabetes and high blood pressure
- Managing stress
If you think that having had a bypass operation means that you have to live a quiet, retiring life, think again. David Letterman and Bill Clinton are just some of the prominent, and very active, figures to have had multiple bypass operations in recent years.
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