Heart Disease Prevention

Content by: NCES, Inc.

Help identify foods that can offer optimal nutrients to control weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Heart Disease Prevention

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The following are Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Prevention Strategies.

Regular Health Screenings. It is important to regularly visit a physician in order to monitor blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Getting regular physicals can help to catch early signs of high blood pressure or cholesterol. Start appropriate steps to control these lifestyle risk factors. If caught early enough, these risk factors may be controlled through diet and exercise without any pharmacological intervention.

Exercise. Exercise is a good way to control your weight and prevent risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Aerobic or “cardio” exercise is especially beneficial as it elevates your heart rate, and when practiced overtime improves your circulation and cardiac output (how well your heart pumps).

Maintain a Healthy Weight. Working with a professional to develop a dietary plan and exercise program are two major steps to work towards reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Excess body fat, especially around the abdomen increases the risk for heart disease. Reaching a healthy weight is also ideal for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Eating a healthy diet and incorporating strength training are the key to reducing body fat and building lean muscle.

Eat a Heart Healthy Diet. Work with your doctor or dietitian to find out what dietary approach works best for you. A dietitian can work with you to adapt any dietary pattern and help to make it more heart healthy. Ask about the DASH diet or the mediterranean diet, as they have both been thoroughly researched and shown to offer a multitude of heart benefits.

Manage Stress. People can deal with stress in many different ways. Overeating, smoking, and drinking are all coping techniques with harmful health effects. In addition to coping mechanisms, high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and the buildup of plaque in the arteries.

Quick Tip!
It is beneficial for cardiac health to find alternative coping mechanisms. Consider using exercise, meditation, or channeling the energy into a new hobby as a way to deal with stress and offer cardiac benefit.

Next Steps:
1. Visit your Doctor.
2. Know your numbers for blood pressure and cholesterol.
3. Begin managing a healthy heart diet.
4. Set a goal for 30-60 minutes of activity per day.

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