Some health conditions and lifestyle factors can put people at a higher risk for developing heart disease. You can help prevent heart disease by making healthy choices and losing any excess weight you may have.
- Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthy meal and snack options can help you avoid heart disease and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables—adults should have at least 5 servings a day. Eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt or sodium in your diet also can lower your blood pressure.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Medical experts consider obesity and being overweight to be a major risk factor for both coronary heart disease and heart attack. Being 20 percent overweight or more significantly increases your risk for developing heart disease, especially if you have a lot of abdominal fat. The American Heart Association has found that even if you have no other related health conditions, obesity itself increases risk of heart disease. Commit to losing those extra pounds and you’re on your way to a heart-healthy lifestyle. Skinny D is a heart-healthy solution for losing weight safely and effectively.
- Exercise regularly. Being sedentary also causes your heart disease risk to increase. A sedentary lifestyle may be more dangerous for women. Inactive females are more likely to become diabetic, have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. It can be as easy as taking a walk 3-4 times per week.
- Manage your diabetes. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your doctor about treatment options. Over time, high blood glucose from diabetescan damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. People with diabetes tend to develop heart disease at a younger age than people without diabetes. In adults with diabetes, the most common causes of death are heart disease and stroke.
- Have your cholesterol checked. Your health care provider should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years. Too much cholesterol in your blood raises your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other problems. But not all cholesterol is bad. There is so-called “good” cholesterol that your body needs to be healthy. And your cholesterol levels are only a piece of the puzzle that forms the picture of a healthy heart.