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
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Ahmad Arham, MD

MD, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; MD, Heart and Vascular Institute - Fairmont
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Vinay Badhwar, MD, FACS, FACC

Professor, Surgery; Gordon F. Murray Professor and Executive Chair; Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, WVU Heart and Vascular Institute - Administration
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Chalak Berzingi, MD

Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; MD, Medicine; Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute - Elkins
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Robert James Beto, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Associate Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Cardiology, Medicine
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Bryan Bush, MD

, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown
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David Church, MD

Assistant Professor, Medicine; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Bridgeport
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Samantha Crites, DO

Fellow, Medicine; Non-Invasive Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown
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Jared Feyko, DO

Instructor, Surgery
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Walid Gharib, MD

Interventional Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute – Glen Dale; Fellow, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Fellow, Medicine
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Khumara Huseynova, MD

Assistant Professor, Surgery; Assistant Professor of Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown
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Abnash Jain, MD, FACP, FACC, FSCAI

Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Cardiology, Medicine
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Jonathan Lanham, MD

Interventional Cardiologist, Medicine; Interventional Cardiologist, WVU Heart and Vascular Institute - Administration; Interventional Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute – Oakland, MD
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Gerardo Lopez, MD

Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute - Bridgeport; Assistant Professor, Medicine
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Luke Marone, MD

Professor, Surgery; Co-Director Heart and Vascular Institute, WVU Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown
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James D. Mills, MD, FACC

Non-invasive Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; MD, Medicine; Non-Invasive Cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute - Grafton
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Jason Moreland, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Cardiology, Medicine
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Anthony Morise, MD, FACC

Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Cardiology, Medicine
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Olusola Oduntan, MD

Associate Professor, Surgery; Assistant Professor, WVU Cancer Institute Clinics
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Sameer Raina, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown
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J. Scott Rankin, MD

Professor, Surgery; , Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown
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Bryan Raybuck, MD

Co-Director, HVI Outreach, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown
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Anthony J. Roda-Renzelli, MD, FACC

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Cardiology, Medicine; Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Institute - Grafton
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Stanley B. Schmidt, MD, FACC

Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Cardiology, Medicine
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Donald Siddoway, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute – Connellsville, PA
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David Tingler, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Cardiology, Medicine; Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Institute - Fairmont
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Kevin Tveter, MD

Assistant Professor, Surgery; Assistant Professor, WVU Cancer Institute Clinics; Assistant Professor, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown
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Lawrence Wei, MD

Associate Professor, Surgery
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