Heart Disease: Prevention Myths
There are lots of things you can do to lower your risk for coronary artery disease. Good habits, such as eating right, getting regular exercise, and not smoking, all work for most people. But many of the things you may hear about really don't work. These include:
- Hormone therapy. Doctors used to think that hormone therapy could lower your risk of getting heart disease. But taking estrogen with or without progestin does not prevent heart disease. In fact, if you are 10 or more years past menopause, taking hormone therapy may raise your risk for heart disease.1
- Low-carbohydrate diets. These diets could cause serious medical problems, especially if you have heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Heart Association do not recommend these diets.
- High-protein diets. These diets limit healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. And they don't include essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The American Heart Association does not recommend high-protein diets.
- Vitamin B supplements. Vitamin B and folic acid supplements do not lower the risk of heart disease or stroke. Most doctors recommend that you get B vitamins from a balanced diet.
- Vitamin E supplements. Vitamin E does not lower the risk of a heart attack or stroke. The American Heart Association does not recommend taking vitamin E to reduce your risk. Instead, eat a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts.
You can read more about guidelines for heart-healthy eating that include foods that do lower your risk. Or you can follow tips for starting and staying with a hearty-healthy eating plan in:
It's important to talk with your doctor if you aren't sure about your risk for heart disease and the best ways you can lower it.
- Rossouw JE, et al. (2007). Postmenopausal hormone therapy and risk of cardiovascular disease by age and years since menopause. JAMA, 297(13): 1465–1477.
Other Works Consulted
- American Heart Association (2006). Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006. Circulation, 114(1): 82–96. [Erratum in Circulation, 114(1): e27.]
- Mosca L, et al. (2011). Effectiveness-based guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women 2011 update: A guideline from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 123(11): 1243–1262.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology|
|Last Revised||April 6, 2012|
Last Revised: April 6, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
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