There are a lot of ways to lower your chances of getting heart disease. Taking action will improve your health and possibly will save your life. These are 8 ways to get on track.
1. Quit smoking. Smoking is a major cause of heart disease. A person’s chance of heart disease increases with the number of cigarettes they smoke. If you smoke, you are much more likely to die if you do have a heart attack.
2. Improve cholesterol levels. You’re more likely to get heart disease if you have:
- Total cholesterol level over 200
- HDL (“good”) cholesterol level under 40
- LDL (“bad”) cholesterol level over 160
- Triglycerides over 150
- Cholesterol is not the only thing that matters. Your doctor will consider the big picture, including all your potential risks. To help lower cholesterol levels, eat a diet low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and refined sugars and high in fiber.
3. Control high blood pressure. High blood pressure significantly increases the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Exercise and healthy eating as well as avoiding salt is one of the ways to control your blood pressure. It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.
4. Get active. Regular physical activity makes you less likely to have a heart attack or develop heart disease. It also helps to control other heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being overweight. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you are not active now.
5. Follow a heart-healthy diet. Eat foods that are low in fat and cholesterol. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, and other plant-based foods. The fiber is good for your cholesterol, and you will get vitamins from the natural way, which are from foods.
- You can still eat fish (especially salmon or tuna, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids), poultry, and meat, but make it lean and keep the portions modest. Also limit salt and sugar.
6. Get to a healthy weight. Losing extra weight is good for your heart. It can also help you lower high blood pressure and manage diabetes.
7. Control diabetes. Diabetes greatly increases the risk of heart disease. The high glucose in the bloodstream can damage the arteries, causing them to become stiff and hard. Get tested and get treated.
8. Manage stress and anger. It is normal to get angry now and then as everyone has stress. Managing your stress and handling your anger in healthy ways puts you back in charge.
Source: WebMD, American Heart Association