Heart Disease: How To Reduce The Risk

Heart Disease: Putting It All Together

Here is a summary of the important facts and information related to heart disease.

  • Heart-healthy changes in diet and lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), and it is never too late to make these changes.
  • Major risk factors for coronary heart disease include high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, inactivity, and diabetes. Being overweight or under stress can aggravate these risk factors.
  • Eating a diet that is low in fat (especially the saturated fat found in most animal foods) and cholesterol and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help lower your cholesterol level.
  • Losing weight if needed, exercising regularly, and lowering your sodium (or salt) intake will significantly lower your blood pressure.
  • If you need to stop smoking, make a firm commitment to yourself and plan activities to keep your hands and mouth busy. When you stop smoking, your risk for coronary heart disease begins to fall immediately.
  • Exercise more by gradually increasing the minutes you spend being physically active. You should strive to accumulate at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most or all days of the week.
  • If you need to lose weight, cut back on your calorie intake modestly while increasing physical activity. Being active is one of the most important things you can do to lose weight.

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