Saturday, April 13, 2024

5 Tips to Manage Heart Health After a Heart Attack

Posted

(BPT) - By Dr. Norman Lepor

Sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
Dr. Lepor was not compensated for his contributions to this article.

If you or a loved one has ever had a cardiovascular event like a heart attack, you know the devastating impact these events can have on a person’s physical and emotional health. And rightfully so – these traumatizing events leave many people feeling anxious and uncertain of the future.

I see this impact nearly every day when patients share their stories, expressing their hope to never experience anything like these events ever again. But my 35 years in cardiology have unfortunately taught me that for a significant percentage of these patients, it will happen again.1

Thankfully, there’s hope for people who have experienced a cardiovascular event. Working with your health care provider can help you better manage your risk factors and look after your heart post-event. Here are a few considerations to guide your care journey.

1. Explore additional treatment options

Lowering your low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your heart health. Known as “bad” cholesterol, LDL-C builds up in the arteries, placing your heart at increased risk of harmful blockages.2

While statins and changes to your diet and exercise regimen can help lower bad cholesterol, these improvements don’t always get your cholesterol where it needs to be.3,4 You need a treatment plan that you can stick with long term. That’s why I recommend Leqvio (inclisiran) to my patients for lowering their bad cholesterol. This prescription injectable is a lipid-lowering medication shown to help lower bad cholesterol by approximately 50% on average when combined with taking a statin and dietary changes.5,6

Leqvio is designed with the patient in mind, requiring only two doses a year.* Since this medicine is administered in a health care setting, you and your health care provider can feel confident that you are receiving your dose. Leqvio works with the liver’s natural processes to reduce bad cholesterol in your blood. The therapy provides cholesterol lowering through each six-month dosing interval. Leqvio can help you reach your target bad cholesterol level and, importantly, help you maintain that level. It is not known if LEQVIO can decrease problems related to high levels of bad cholesterol, such as heart attacks or stroke. The most common side effects of LEQVIO were: injection site reaction (including pain, redness, and rash), joint pain, and chest cold.

2. Limit alcohol and tobacco

Tobacco and heavy alcohol use can heighten your risk of a recurring cardiovascular event by increasing levels of triglycerides, a fatty deposit that can build up and create a blockage within blood vessels.7,8 You can take action to protect your heart by limiting alcohol and tobacco consumption. If either of those is challenging, consult your health care provider.

3. Partner with your health care provider

The road to managing your heart health following a cardiovascular event isn’t always linear. That’s why having an open and consistent dialogue with your health care provider is really important. Your health care provider will understand your unique risk factors and can help you build a realistic treatment plan. Don’t be afraid to proactively ask questions and speak up.

4. Switch it up in the kitchen & get your body moving

Proper nutrition is essential for lowering your bad cholesterol after you’ve had a cardiovascular event. Eating foods rich in fiber and low in saturated or trans fats, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, poultry, or fish can result in better heart health.9,10 I recommend my patients to limit their consumption of red meats, processed foods, and food and beverages with added sugar or salt.11 Your health care provider can work with you on creating a diet plan that best fits your nutritional needs.

In addition to dietary changes, it’s important to add physical activity to your daily routine – it could be as simple as walking around the neighborhood for thirty minutes several times a week.12 Your health care provider can help you determine what types of physical activity are safe for you.12

5. Consistency is key

Heart health is a lifelong investment. After a cardiovascular event, it’s important to take aggressive and consistent steps toward managing your heart health.13,14 This means prioritizing regular management of cholesterol levels and risk factors such as tobacco and heavy alcohol use, incorporating physical activity, proper nutrition, and keeping follow-up appointments with your health care team to monitor your condition and recovery.13,15

Your health care provider can be a valuable resource in prescribing a treatment plan that fits your lifestyle.

Much like the tortoise and the hare taught many of us as children, slow and steady wins the race; the same goes for managing your heart health. But this cherished fable fails to teach us that there’s help along the way.

To learn more about Leqvio, visit www.Leqvio.com.

*After an initial dose and another at three months.

What is LEQVIO?

LEQVIO (inclisiran) is an injectable prescription medicine used along with diet and other cholesterol-lowering medicines in adults with high blood cholesterol levels called primary hyperlipidemia (including a type of high cholesterol called heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia [HeFH]) to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C) or “bad” cholesterol.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

The most common side effects of LEQVIO were: injection site reaction (including pain, redness, and rash), joint pain, and chest cold.

These are not all the possible side effects of LEQVIO. Ask your health care provider for medical advice about side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please click here for Leqvio full Prescribing Information.

References

  1. Peters SAE, Colantonio LD, Dai, Y, et al. Trends in Recurrent Coronary Heart Disease After Myocardial Infarction Among US Women and Men Between 2008 and 2017. Circulation. 2021;143:650-660.
  2. Mayo Clinic. Arteriosclerosis / atherosclerosis. Accessed January 21, 2024. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arteriosclerosis-atherosclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350569?p=1
  3. Kirkpatrick CF, Sikand G, Petersen KS, et al. Nutrition interventions for adults with dyslipidemia: A Clinical Perspective from the National Lipid Association. J Clin Lipidol. 2023;17:428-451.
  4. Scirica BM and Cannon CP. Treatment of Elevated Cholesterol. Circulation. 2005;111:e360-e363.
  5. Ray KK, Wright RS, Kallend D, et al. Two phase 3 trials of inclisiran in patients with elevated LDL cholesterol. N Engl J Med. 2020;382(16):1507-1519.
  6. Raal FJ, Kallend D, Ray KK, et al. Inclisiran for the treatment of heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia. N Engl J Med. 2020;382(16):1520-1530.
  7. Mukamal KJ. The Effects of Smoking and Drinking on Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Factors. Alcohol Res Health. 2006;29(3):199–202.
  8. Schwartz GG, Abt M, Bao W, et al. Fasting triglycerides predict recurrent ischemic events in patients with acute coronary syndrome treated with statins. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015;65(21):2267-75.
  9. Diab A, Dastmalchi LN, Gulati M, et al. A Heart-Healthy Diet for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: Where Are We Now?, Vascular Health and Risk Management. Vasc. Health and Risk Mgmt. 2023;19:237-253.
  10. de Lorgeril M, Salen P, Martin JL, et al. Mediterranean diet, traditional risk factors, and the rate of cardiovascular complications after myocardial infarction: final report of the Lyon Diet Heart Study. Circulation. 1999;99(6):779-85.
  11. Delgado-Lista J, Alcala-Diaz JF, Torres-Peña JD, et al. Long-term secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet and a low-fat diet (CORDIOPREV): a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet. 2022;399(10338):1876-1885.
  12. Smith SC Jr, Benjamin EJ, Bonow RO, et al. AHA/ACCF Secondary Prevention and Risk Reduction Therapy for Patients with Coronary and other Atherosclerotic Vascular Disease: 2011 update. Circulation. 2011;124:2458-2473.
  13. Grundy SM, Stone NJ, Bailey AL, et al. 2018 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2019;140:e596-e646.
  14. Authors/Task Force Members, ESC Committee for Practice Guidelines (CPG), ESC National Cardiac Societies. 2019 ESC/EAS guidelines for the management of dyslipidaemias: Lipid modification to reduce cardiovascular risk. European Heart Journal. 2019;140-205.
  15. American Heart Association. Life After a Heart Attack. Accessed February 9, 2024. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/life-after-a-heart-attack

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