- Get medically recommended testing — Testing gives you a detailed look at how all the pieces fit together. It helps you stay on top of your health and prevent or delay many problems.
- Stop Smoking — This may be the most important change you can make. Daily cigarette smoking can triple your risk of heart disease, but that risk drops by 50% after 1 year of not smoking.
- Lower your blood pressure — Treating high blood pressure can reduce your risk of having a heart attack by 27% and a stroke by 38%. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 139/89 mmHg, you may have prehypertension, which is a warning sign. Know what your blood pressure should be and work to keep it at that level.
- Eat heart-healthy foods — Eat a heart-healthy diet focused on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plantbased protein, and healthy fats. Avoid highly processed foods, added sugars and syrups, and trans fats. Consult with your health care provider for additional recommendations specific to your medical history.
- Evaluate your risk factors and aim for your LDL and total cholesterol goals — The higher your total cholesterol level, the greater the risk for developing heart disease and of having a heart attack.
- Lace up your sneakers and get active — Exercise helps keep your blood vessels clear, keeps your heart strong, and lowers blood pressure. Just 45 to 75 minutes of brisk walking each week has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Lose Weight — Slimming down can reduce blood pressure as well as help insulin work more effectively in people with diabetes.
- Stress Less Mental stress causes blood vessels to constrict, which may increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
- Control your blood glucose levels if you have diabetes — Every 1 point increase in hemoglobin A1c raises your risk of complications like heart disease by as much as 30%, so keeping control of your blood glucose levels if you have diabetes is important.
- Ask about statin drugs — The American Diabetes Association now recommends statin drugs for people with diabetes who are over 40 years of age and have risk factors for heart disease.
The information on healthmatters.io is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.