Chest pain, shortness of breath and lightheadedness are three common symptoms of myocardial infarction. Too many families, friends and loved ones have faced a sudden, often-unexpected loss because someone they knew suffered an MI – otherwise known as a heart attack.

While they can’t always be prevented, the good news is researchers have identified five healthy lifestyle factors that can profoundly impact one’s risk of suffering a heart attack. Adopting even one of these healthy factors reduces your risk, but adopting two, three, four or all five factors reduces the risk even further:

  • One Factor: healthy diet – 26 percent lower risk
  • Two Factors: healthy diet, moderate alcohol consumption – 35 percent lower risk
  • Three Factors: healthy diet, moderate alcohol consumption, no smoking – 64 percent lower risk
  • Four Factors: healthy diet, moderate alcohol consumption, no smoking, physically active – 76 percent lower risk
  • Five Factors: All four of the above factors plus waist circumference less than 95 cm (about 37 inches)

If you’re already five for five when it comes to the above lifestyle factors, keep up the great work! If you’re doing none or only a few, recognize their value in preventing a cardiac event that can end your life in the blink of an eye. Talk to your doctor for more information on heart attacks and an evaluation of your current risk.