Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.
The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices
Quitting smoking is the best thing that can be done for the heart and for overall health. Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in the United States, and smokers have a higher risk of developing many chronic disorders, including atherosclerosis, or the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries. When combined with other heart disease risk factors, smoking increases the risks associated with those factors. Quitting is never easy, but there are lots of helpful resources for those looking to start.
Know your numbers
Maintaining a healthy weight, blood pressure and total cholesterol play a significant role in maintaining a healthy heart. While there are standard guidelines for blood pressure and cholesterol, ideal weight goals are individual to each person. A physician can help determine an appropriate goal weight based on additional factors such as age and height.
Heart pumping physical activity not only helps to prevent cardiovascular disease but can also improve overall mental and physical health. The American Heart Association recommends five 30 minute moderate exercise sessions each week. While this may seem daunting, it is important to note that these sessions can be broken up into two or three 10 or 15-minute segments throughout the day. Walking, jogging, biking
A healthy diet full of heart-smart foods is essential to a healthy heart and lifestyle. Salmon, nuts, berries, and oats are just a few of the heart “superfoods” that may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. Dark chocolate is also on the list and is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth (in moderation).
Keep track! Thanks to smartphones, it’s easier than ever to keep a detailed food log no matter where your day takes you. A few good app options are Calorific, The Eatery, Evernote, Lose It, My Fitness Pal, My Food Diary, My Net Diary, My Plate, and Nutrition Menu. Most of these apps have a database of tens of thousands of foods, including many popular restaurant menu items.
Stress increases cortisol, which leads to weight gain, a key risk factor for heart disease. In addition, stress can lead to other unhealthy habits, making it harder to stick to a heart-healthy program. Stress can also decrease overall happiness and increase the risk
Simple lifestyle changes can make a big impact when it comes to heart health.