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How to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease

Each year, approximately 655,000 Americans die from heart disease, which is equivalent to nearly 1 in every 4 deaths. Since cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality for men and women in the United States, it is important to educate yourself on how to eliminate key risk factors and make healthy lifestyle choices.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

  • Four common heart disease risk factors include:
    • 1. High blood pressure
    • If high blood pressure is left untreated, it can increase your risk of a heart attack. Over time, excessive strain and damage from high blood pressure can lead to a buildup of cholesterol and plaque in your arteries.
    • 2. High cholesterol
    • High cholesterol can affect anyone at any age. High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad cholesterol,” increases your risk of coronary heart disease by leading to the stiffening and narrowing of your arteries.
    • 3. Depression
    • According to the American Heart Association, one in 10 Americans have depression. Depression, anxiety, or stress over a long period of time can have a negative impact on your heart health. If you experience negative feelings that linger beyond a couple weeks or months, talk to your doctor. There are effective ways to treat depression, and you do not have to struggle alone.
    • 4. Obesity
    • Excessive body fat increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. If you lose just 5% of your weight, you can improve your cholesterol numbers and lower your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

How to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease

  • To lower your risk of heart disease, consider implementing the following five health tips:

1. Avoid nicotine products

  • Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. Whether you smoke traditional cigarettes or e-cigarettes, consuming nicotine increases your blood pressure, speeds up your heart rate, and narrows your arteries. Quitting nicotine can help reverse heart and blood vessel damage.
  • 2. Limit your consumption of alcohol
  • While drinking a small amount of alcohol is not harmful for your heart, heavy drinking can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke. Excessive alcohol consumption can also contribute to cardiomyopathy, which occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently.
  • 3. Maintain a healthy body weight
  • To maintain a healthy body weight, limit your portion sizes, exercise often, and aim to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Managing your weight will help you lead a more healthy life by minimizing your risk of disease and discomfort.
  • 4. Exercise for 30 minutes per day
  • Regular physical activity is great for your mental health and physical health. As a general goal, you should aim to complete thirty minutes of moderate exercise per day, which includes brisk brisk walking, riding a bike, dancing, hiking, running, or playing a sport. Moderate exercise has been shown to improve your muscle strength, boost your endurance, and improve your heart and lung health.
  • 5. Follow a healthy diet
  • A healthy diet is one that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. In general, it is best to source your protein from poultry, fish, beans, eggs, or nuts, and minimize your consumption of red meat and sugary foods or beverages.

Final Word:

  • Keep your heart healthy by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding high-risk activities. In addition, schedule regular appointments with your physician to monitor your heart health. When it comes to your health, preventative measures can go a long way!