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 hormone therapy does not prevent heart disease. So experts no longer recommend this use of hormone therapy.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.
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force 2012. Menopausal Hormone Therapy for the Primary Prevention of Chronic Conditions: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf12/menohrt/menohrtfinalrs.pdf.
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||January 17, 2013|
Last Revised: January 17, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
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