5 Steps to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease

Your Risk of Heart Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States each year, that’s 1 out of every 4 people in the US. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease.

1 Eat a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet which contains plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and limits unhealthy fats can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Additionally, selecting low fat protein sources, cutting down or eliminating processed foods and reducing your salt intake helps round out a heart healthy diet.

Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reducing sodium is an important part of a heart-healthy diet.  – Mayo Clinic 

2 Maintain a Healthy Weight

Reaching and maintaining a health weight is important, not only for your overall health, but also to help prevent and reduce your risk for many other conditions including heart disease. One guide for determining a healthy weight is the Body Mass Index or BMI. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide a free on-line BMI calculator you can use as a guide to determine your current weight status.

3 Exercise

exercise to reduce your risk of heart diseaseExercise is fantastic for you and the benefits go well beyond reducing your risk of heart disease.

Being active can:

  • Strengthen your heart.
  • Lower your blood pressure.
  • Help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Boost your mood and self-esteem.
  • Help you sleep better.

Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise plan.

4 Quit Smoking

The Surgeon General has called smoking  “the leading preventable cause of disease and deaths in the United States.”  When you quit you’re reducing your risk of heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, when you quit smoking…

“…The health benefits start almost immediately, and within a few years of quitting your risk of stroke and coronary artery disease are similar to non-smokers.”

For more information including resources that can help you quit visit the American Heart Association.

5 Limit Alcohol Consumption

limit alcohol consumption to reduce risk of heart diseaseThere have been reports that moderate alcohol consumption could be good for your heart, and that may be true, but it’s not for everyone. In fact, there are those in the medical community who are less confident that alcohol is a factor and wonder if other healthy lifestyle choices light drinkers make play a more significant role in the connection between alcohol and heart health.

WebMD says that:

“Moderate drinking — no more than 1 drink a day for women and 2 for men — appears to protect some people against heart disease. One drink is 12 ounces of beer or wine cooler, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.”

They go on to say that…

 “Obese people, pregnant women, and anyone with a history ofalcoholism should not drink. Certain medications don’t mix well with alcohol. These usually come with a warning sticker from your pharmacy that tells you not to drink while you take them.” — http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/heart-disease-alcohol-your-heart

Conclusion

There are simple lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of heart disease.  Consult with your doctor and take steps today to lead a heart healthy lifestyle.

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