Heart disease is something to be taken seriously. People may be able to survive clogged arteries, heart attacks, arrhythmias, and other heart issues through medication and surgery. But preventing heart disease in the first place is preferable. Anthony Morise, MD, cardiologist with the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, gives some advice about preventing or overcoming heart disease.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is any disease that affects the heart. Coronary artery disease is the most common form of heart disease. Coronary arteries become blocked making it difficult for oxygen and nutrients carried in the blood to get to the heart muscle. This condition can result in a myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack. Other heart diseases include heart rhythm disorders, heart failure, and valve disorders.

What are some of the risk factors for heart disease?

Some factors, such as age, sex, or family history, can put a person at higher risk for coronary heart disease. These factors cannot be modified, but a number of others can be. These include cholesterol level, blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and being overweight and sedentary. These usually begin with changing an established lifestyle, but medication may be involved if established goals cannot be met.

What if you know you are high-risk, but you don’t yet show any symptoms?

It’s important to see your primary care doctor for regular physical exams to keep track of your blood pressure, cholesterol, and other conditions that signal changes that can be a threat to your heart health. Heart patients are getting younger – a growing number of people in their 30s are showing up with a first coronary event. They often have a number of coronary risk factors, such as diabetes, smoking, or a strong family history of early coronary disease. Diabetes is a particularly bad condition to have. We emphasize the need for control of this problem, and a diabetologist is often the best person to help them get that control. Screening high-risk patients with diagnostic testing is commonly done.

So you’ve had a heart attack, what can you do to prevent a second one from happening?

People often survive a first heart attack, but their risk for a second one increases. Some significant lifestyle changes will need to occur to reduce that likelihood, and the patient must be committed to making these changes. Stopping smoking, engaging in some physical activity, attaining ideal body weight, and keeping blood sugar and cholesterol levels controlled are very important. Some of these factors become easier to control just by quitting smoking and becoming more active. In addition, dietary adjustments are usually required.

Mohamad Alkhouli, MD

Interventional Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Assistant Program Director, Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program; Medical Director of the Structual Heart Program; Interventional Cardiologist
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile877-988-4478

Ahmad Arham, MD

MD, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; MD, Heart and Vascular Institute - Fairmont; Assistant Professor of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, United Hospital Center
View Profile304-598-4000

Vinay Badhwar, MD, FACS, FACC

Executive Chair, WVU Heart & Vascular Institute;, WVU Heart and Vascular Institute - Administration; Executive Chair, WVU Heart & Vascular Institute; Gordon F. Murray Professor and Chair, Department of Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery, WVU SOM
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile877-988-4478

Chalak Berzingi, MD

Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute - Elkins; Assistant Professor of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile304-598-4000

Robert Beto, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Associate Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Associate Professor of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile304-598-4000

Bryan Bush, MD

Assistant Professor of Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Assistant Professor of Surgery
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, Camden Clark Medical Center, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile304-424-4760

David Church, MD

MD, Heart and Vascular Institute - Bridgeport; Assistant Professor of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, United Hospital Center
View Profile304-842-0007

Samantha Crites, DO

Non-Invasive Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Assistant Professor of Medicine
J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile304-265-6416

Alexandre d'Audiffret, MD

Program Director of Vascular Surgery Fellowship, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Program Director, Vascular Surgery Fellowship
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, United Hospital Center
View Profile304-598-4000

Jared Feyko, DO

Instructor, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Instructor
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile304-598-4000

Walid Gharib, MD

Interventional Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute - Glen Dale; Assistant Professor of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, Reynolds Memorial Hospital
View Profile304-845-0100

Khumara Huseynova, MD

Assistant Professor of Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Assistant Professor
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, United Hospital Center
View Profile304-598-4000

Abnash Jain, MD, FACP, FACC, FSCAI

Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Professor
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile304-598-4000

Jonathan Lanham, MD

Interventional Cardiologist, WVU Heart and Vascular Institute - Administration; Interventional Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute - Oakland, MD; Interventional Cardiologist; Assistant Professor of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, United Hospital Center
View Profile304-842-0007

Gerardo Lopez, MD

Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute - Bridgeport; Assistant Professor of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, United Hospital Center
View Profile304-842-0007

Luke Marone, MD

Co-Director Heart and Vascular Institute, WVU Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Co-Director Heart and Vascular Institute WVU Medicine; Chief of Vascular Interventional Services
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, United Hospital Center
View Profile304-842-0007

James Mills, MD, FACC

Non-invasive Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Non-Invasive Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute - Grafton; Assistant Director, Stress and Metabolic Imaging; Assistant Professor of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute
View Profile304-598-4000

Jason Moreland, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Assistant Cath Lab Director; Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Assistant Professor of Medicine, WVU School of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile304-598-4000

Anthony Morise, MD, FACC

Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Professor
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
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Takashi Murashita, MD

Clinical Instructor, Heart and Vascular Institute
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile877-988-4478

Lakshmikumar Pillai, MD

Associate Professor, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Associate Professor
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, United Hospital Center
View Profile304-842-0007

Sameer Raina, MD

MD, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Assistant Professor of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile844-484-0300

Bryan Raybuck, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Co-Director, HVI Outreach, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Interim Chief, Section of Cardiology; Co-Director of Outreach; Interventional Cardiologist; Director, Cardiac Catheterization Labratory
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile304-598-4000

Anthony Roda-Renzelli, MD, FACC

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Institute - Grafton; Program Director, Cardiology Fellowship Program; Interim Program Director of the Interventional Cardiology Program
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile304-598-4000

Stanley Schmidt, MD, FACC

MD, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Professor of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile304-598-4000

Donald Siddoway, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Connellsville, PA; Assistant Professor of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile877-988-4478

David Tingler, MD

Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Institute - Fairmont; Assistant Professor of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, United Hospital Center
View Profile304-637-3897

Kevin Tveter, MD

MD, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Assistant Professor of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile304-598-4000

Lawrence Wei, MD

Co-Director, Center for Aortic Surgery and Director, Center for Aortic Valve Disease; Associate Professor of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile877-988-4478

Pamela Zimmerman, MD

MD, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Associate Professor of Surgery
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, United Hospital Center
View Profile304-598-4000