If you smoke, quit. If someone in your household smokes, encourage them to quit. While quitting is hard, it is much harder to recover from a heart attack or stroke or to live with chronic heart disease.
Choose good nutrition
The foods you eat, and the amount, can affect other major controllable risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and being overweight or obese. A healthy diet is one of the best weapons you have to fight heart disease.
Reduce blood cholesterol
Reducing your intake of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol and increasing your activity can help reduce your risk of heart disease. If diet and exercise aren’t working alone, consult with your healthcare provider as medication may be needed.
Lower high blood pressure
High blood pressure is the single largest risk for stroke. Stroke is the number 3 killer and one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. Shake the salt habit, take your medications and increase your activity.
Increase physical activity
Research has shown that getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity on 5 or more days of the week can help lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy weight.
Maintain a healthy weight
Good nutrition, controlling calorie intake and portion control along with physical activity are the most successful ways of maintaining a healthy weight.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes is it important that you work with your healthcare provider to keep your diabetes in check. People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
While stress is not considered to be a major risk factor for developing heart disease, it has been found to affect your risk factors. Stress may increase overeating and smoking. Research has even shown that stress in young adults may predict middle-aged blood pressure risks.
Excessive drinking may raise blood pressure and lead to heart failure or stroke. It can contribute to high triglycerides, produce irregular heartbeats and affect cancer and other diseases.