Take Action to Beat Heart Disease
If you’re at risk for heart disease, there's good news: Many people can take steps to greatly reduce their chances of developing it. And even if you already have heart disease, there’s a lot you can do to prevent future heart problems.
Some risk factors are beyond your control. You can't change your gender (males have a higher risk), your family history, or your age (risk increases as you get older).
But other major risk factors can be changed. You can help lower your risk of developing heart disease by making positive lifestyle changes. Even if you already have heart disease, doing these things can help you prevent a future heart attack:
- Stop smoking. Smokers are up to four times more likely to develop heart disease than nonsmokers.
- Control high blood pressure. If you have blood pressure higher than recommended, work with your health care provider to lower it.
- Manage high cholesterol. Even a 10 percent reduction in your total cholesterol may lower your risk for heart disease.
- Lose extra weight. Your heart and blood vessels are under constant stress to pump blood to all your body tissues. If you are obese, you increase the workload on the heart and blood vessels. Losing weight reduces the strain on your heart and the wear and tear on your body.
- Get physically active. Inactivity is just as dangerous as smoking, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Increasing physical activity increases the levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL) in your body, which helps prevent disease of your arteries.
- Limit alcohol use and manage stress.
How Healthy Is Your Heart?
The more you know about your heart, the more you can do to help it. Take our Heart Health Quiz today to learn about your individual heart risk.