Taking action to control your risk factors can help prevent or slow down plaque buildup. If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, your doctor may prescribe medicine to control your atherosclerosis risk factors. Take all of your medicines as your doctor advises.
A heart-healthy lifestyle starts early in life
Atherosclerosis often begins in childhood and continues developing throughout life. Heart-healthy living — never smoking, eating healthy, and being physically active — starting in childhood and continuing throughout life can prevent atherosclerosis and its complications. Help your kids follow a heart-healthy lifestyle and encourage them to not smoke or vape.
Medicines to control blood cholesterol levels
Doctors now have a range of medicines they can prescribe to manage blood cholesterol levels. Your doctor may prescribe a statin or another medicine, depending on a several factors: your risk for complications, such as heart attack and stroke; whether you have diabetes; your age; and your cholesterol levels. High levels of “bad” cholesterol are an important risk factor for plaque buildup.
Talk with your healthcare team about whether medicines can help you reduce your risk for plaque buildup. Even If you take a medicine as part of your treatment plan, be sure to continue your healthy lifestyle changes.
Treating other health conditions
Certain medical conditions are risk factors for plaque buildup and complications of atherosclerosis. Your healthcare team can help with treating conditions such as chronic kidney disease; diabetes; high blood pressure; high blood triglycerides; and infections, such as HIV, hepatitis C, and bacterial infections.
Make an appointment with your healthcare team to talk about how to keep your heart healthy. Talk to your doctor about your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose (sugar) numbers.