Take it to Heart

Here are some tips on how to reduce your risk for developing heart disease.

Take it to Heart

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States. With heart disease comes the risk for heart attack, stroke and several other diseases. Where heart disease once was thought of as a disease that only affected adults, usually over the age of 60; it is now a disease that is affecting people in their teens, 20’s and 30’s. Heart disease does not develop overnight, but takes years to fully develop. People are suffering at a younger and younger age every year due to the increased convenience of foods and lack of physical activity. There are many risk factors that play a role in the development of heart disease. Some of those risk factors are controllable, while others are not.

Examples of controllable risk factors: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes and stress can be reduced or eliminated through simple lifestyle changes.


Consider ways to reduce your risk for developing heart disease.

1️⃣ Manage your cholesterol.
Cholesterol performs several functions in the body. However, too much cholesterol can be harmful. Cholesterol levels rise, due to the amount of saturated fat one has in their diet. One of the best things you can do to help control cholesterol is to monitor your saturated fat intake through eating a well-balanced diet. To help cut down on the saturated fat in your diet choose lean cuts of meat and skim or 1% milk instead of 2% or whole. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grain products each day, and choose foods that have been broiled, boiled, baked or roasted instead of fried.

2️⃣ Manage your blood pressure.
Blood pressure usually increases with age, but can be controlled. To help keep blood pressure in check you should lose excess weight, become physically active, choose foods low in sodium and limit alcohol intake.

3️⃣ Stop Smoking.
There is absolutely no safe way to smoke. Research shows that smokers are two to six times more likely to have a heart attack than those who do not smoke. When you quit smoking, your risk drops dramatically.

4️⃣ Prevent weight gain or lose excess weight.
Excess weight raises blood cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. The best way to lose weight is to focus on a heart-healthy eating plan. Choose more fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods, eat less saturated fat and processed foods. Remember portion control is very important in maintaining your weight. To learn more about how to lose weight safely, visit your health provider.

5️⃣ Increase your physical activity level.
Research has shown that even small amounts of exercise throughout the day are helpful in the prevention of heart disease and other related health problems. You should strive for 30 minutes of activity every day. If you have a health condition, consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program. And remember, if you are new to exercise, start slow and work up to more rigorous physical activity.

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