With some types of heart disease, such as coronary heart disease, it may be possible to reverse some of the effects and reduce its severity through medications and lifestyle adjustments. This may include diets, such as the Mediterranean diet or a plant-based diet.

It may also be possible to help prevent some types of heart disease from worsening through similar methods.

In this article, we look at factors that can increase the risk of heart disease and actions that may help reverse the condition. We also explain different tests used to monitor the progress of heart disease.

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A 2020 study listed the following factors as being possible methods of reversing some of the effects of heart disease:

Modifiable factors that can contribute to the development of heart disease include:

It is important to remember that some types of heart disease have no cure and are not reversible. However, following a doctor’s recommended treatment plan and making heart-healthy lifestyle changes can help a person manage their condition and help prevent complications.

Choosing and avoiding certain foods may help a person reverse some of the effects of heart disease or help prevent complications and progression of the condition.

Plant-based diet

Eating foods such as vegetables that have more nutrients and fewer calories may be the best way to help prevent and treat long-term health problems such as heart disease.

According to a small study from 2014, a plant-based diet helped achieve coronary artery disease reversal among the majority of its participants.

Learn more about a plant-based diet.

Mediterranean diet

Following a Mediterranean diet may help manage heart disease and prevent complications.

The Mediterranean diet is high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. It is low in red meat.

Learn about the Mediterranean diet and view sample meal plans.

Reducing inflammation

Some scientific evidence also shows that chronic inflammation can initiate the formation of fatty, waxy substances called plaque in the walls of blood vessels. Plaque can contribute to the development of coronary artery disease.

Nutrition may help modify systemic inflammation. Foods that contain synthetic trans fat and dietary saturated fat, such as food shortenings and fried foods, can worsen inflammation.

Foods that contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fat, such as fish, chia seeds, and flaxseed, may help reduce inflammation.

Read more about the anti-inflammatory diet.

Weight management

Weight management, in general, can play a role in helping prevent the development of heart disease.

Having overweight or obesity can be risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

Learn about weight recommendations.

Strong evidence suggests exercise plays a big role in improving heart health and general health.

For instance, a study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation found that 1 year of exercise training helped increase and preserve the elasticity of the myocardium (heart muscles) in people with early signs of heart failure.

Talk with a doctor about forms of exercise that could be safe and appropriate to try. Examples of potentially beneficial exercises include:

Doctors prescribe different medications for treating and managing different heart diseases. It is important to take medications exactly as a doctor has prescribed.

Some common medications prescribed to treat or manage heart diseases include:

A person may wish to consider making other lifestyle changes to manage heart disease.


Cigarette, tobacco, and alcohol use are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking can cause coronary heart disease by increasing the formation of plaques on the walls of blood vessels and damaging cells that line the blood vessels.

Get tips for quitting smoking.


Stress is an important modifiable risk factor for heart disease.

Different life stressors can increase the risk of conditions such as obesity, hypertension, and lipidemia, all of which have links with cardiovascular diseases.

Getting enough rest using relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation may help reverse heart disease.

Read about short- and long-term stress reduction.

To diagnose and monitor heart disease, healthcare professionals use different tests. These may include:

Learn more about heart tests.

It is not possible to reverse all types of heart disease. However, there are clinical approaches that focus on managing these conditions.

Lifestyle and dietary modifications may improve overall health outcomes, reduce the risk of developing additional medical conditions, reduce disease symptoms, and help manage cardiovascular conditions.

A person should always talk with a doctor before making major lifestyle changes.