Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, but heart disease is preventable and controllable. Here are some steps you can take to help prevent heart disease:
- Eat a healthy diet – include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Adults should have at least 5 servings each day. Eat foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Limit salt or sodium in your diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight – Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease. Your doctor can calculate your body mass index (BMI) to determine whether your weight is in a healthy range.
- Exercise regularly – Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It is recommended that adults engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
- Monitor your blood pressure – High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis. You can check your blood pressure at home, at a pharmacy, or at a doctor’s office.
- Don’t smoke – Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible.
- Limit alcohol use – Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure. Men should stick to no more than 2 drinks per day, and women to no more than 1.
- Have your cholesterol checked – Your health care provider should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years.
- Manage your diabetes – If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your doctor about treatment options.
- Take your medicine – If you’re taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
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Everyone should be able to find something in the list above that they can incorporate into their lives to keep their heart healthy. When in doubt ask your doctor what they would recommend you do, as everyone is different. We’d love to hear what steps you take to keep your heart healthy. Please share below or on our Facebook page.
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