You Can Fight Heart Disease
The key risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high LDL (also known as ‘bad’) cholesterol and smoking. Almost half of Americans have at least one of these three risk factors.
Preventing Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. The best way to prevent heart disease is to loweryourriskbylivingahealthylifestyle.Notsure where to begin? We have simplified five healthy habits to help you live a better life. Another good habitistoseeyourprimarycareprovider(PCP)for a checkup every year.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle can seem overwhelming. Breaking it down into specific habits can make it easier.
1. Eat a healthy diet. A poor diet can lead to high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and foods high in fiber. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Be food smart as packaging may say “low fat” or “low sodium” but the manufacturer may be comparing that food to a super high fat or sodium product. Read the nutrition facts food label as it will give you the most accurate information.
2. Exercise regularly. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic physical activity a day, five days a week.
3. Watch your weight. If you are unsure if you are at a healthy weight, see your PCP. If you do need to lose weight, go slowly and aim to lose ½ to 1 lb. a week.
4. Don’t smoke. Smoking greatly increases your risk of heart disease. Quitting will lower your risk. Keep your home smoke-free as second- hand smoke is dangerous too. See your PCP if you need help quitting.
5. Limit alcohol. Alcohol increases your blood pressure.
Know your risk factors including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Establish a relationship with your PCP so you can:
■ Have your cholesterol levels checked. Cholesterol deposits can accumulate in the arteries which causes the arteries to harden and narrow.
■ Learn your body mass index (BMI). BMI is a measurement that shows the amount of fat in your body based on your weight and height.
■ Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure has no symptoms, but its effects are very serious. High blood pressure puts added stress and force on the artery walls.
■ Properly manage any chronic condition. Your PCP may prescribe medication to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Be sure to follow instructions carefully. If you don’t understand something—test results, medication, etc.—ask your PCP. They want you to be healthy too.
By: CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/index.htm accessed on December 19, 2017.
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/ accessed on January 4, 2018.