Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Many times heart disease is preventable with life style changes that you can do. Here are five changes that you should take to prevent heart disease.
1. Stop smoking and all use of tobacco products. Even occasional mental smoking, low tar and low nicotine cigarettes and smokeless tobacco put you at risk. Even worse news is that even second hand smoke is risky to your health. Cigarette smoke and nicotine make put stress on the heart and make it work harder. Women who take birth control pills and smoke increase their risk of heart attack and stroke. The risk is even greater after women turn 35. Within only a year after quitting smoking, the risk of heart disease drops quickly.
2. Start exercising. Moderate exercise can reduce your risk of a heart attack. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight and can help reduce chances of high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. You should get to to 1 hour of exercise most days of the week. The time can be broken up into shorter segments as long as you reach the total time during the day.
3. Eat better food. The American Heart Association has published the DASH eating plan that is available online. The plan encourages you to eat low cholesterol, low fat and low salt. It is also important to include Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet to lower cholesterol. Almost all of us should include more fruit and vegetables in our diet. Also remember that if you drink alcohol, it should be in moderation.
4. Keep your weight under control. Excess weight leads to greater opportunities of developing other conditions that lead to heart disease. One indicator of a healthy weight is a BMI of less that 25. A ten percent reduction in weight can lower your blood pressure.
5. Visit the Doctor regularly. Unless you are checked your will probably not know that you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Regularly having these checked also allows you and your doctor to know if the trends are increasing or remaining about the same. If your blood pressure is normal, it should still be tested every two years. Cholesterol should be tested at least every five years. If the numbers are high, then have them checked more regularly.
Heart disease prevention is a numbers game. If you take steps to reduce the risk factors, you reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Remember that heart disease is not only the number one cause of death among both men and women, but also is the number one cause of disability for both sexes. If heart disease disables you, it reduces your alert potential and may cause economic hardship for your family. If heart disease kills you, it not only causes economic hardship but also causes emotional pain for the family left behind. Take steps to prevent heart disease you are worth it and your family will appreciate it.