Yes, you can reduce your risk of heart disease.
The bad news: heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. The good news: there are ways that you can reduce your risk of heart disease. In honor of American Heart Month, here are some things you can do.
• Eat heart smart. A heart-smart diet involves practicing moderation, paying attention to portions and choosing healthy foods such as low-fat dairy, lean meats, whole grains, fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fruits and vegetables.
• Exercise. The American Heart Association guidelines for physical activity suggest you should get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least 5 days each week.
• Maintain a healthy weight. There’s no magic to this one; it’s a matter of healthy eating and regular exercise. Talk with your doctor to determine what is a healthy weight for you and for advice if diet and exercise don’t seem to be working. A healthy weight will help you maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which in turn will reduce your risk of heart disease.
• Don’t smoke. Smoking hurts your heart and blood vessels, which contributes to plaque build up in your arteries. Talk to your doctor and explore the variety of resources available to help you quit smoking.
• See your doctor. Regular check-ups and recommended screening tests are important and can help your doctor discover potential heart problems, early.