We all are at risk of developing a heart disease sooner or later in our lives. But by following these tips, you’ll be able to lower your risk of heart disease significantly.
As someone who is a young adult or in middle age, heart disease can seem like something that’s far off or unlikely. But if you study statistics, they show that heart disease is a real threat to every American.
And the choices you make now will have an impact on your heart health down the road.
How To Lower Your Risk Of Heart Disease
The heart is a complicated organ with an even more complex system around it. There are dozens of conditions and diseases that can besiege the human heart, but heart disease is the biggest problem.
Heart disease isn’t just a problem in the United States – it’s a major problem. According to the CDC, 610,000 Americans die of heart disease each year. (That’s roughly one out of every four deaths!)
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, while 735,000 Americans have a heart attack every year.
It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, or Hispanic, male or female, middle-aged or elderly – you’re at risk of developing heart disease. There is a silver lining, however. By making health and proactive choices, you can lower your risk quite substantially.
Here are some specific ways you can take things into your own hands and lower your risk of developing heart disease:
1. Stop Smoking
Few things increase your propensity for developing heart disease quite like smoking. Even being around secondhand smoke will elevate your risk dramatically.
“If you smoke, quit. If someone in your household smokes, encourage them to quit. We know it’s tough. But it’s tougher to recover from a heart attack or stroke or to live with chronic heart disease,” the American Heart Association notes. “Commit to quit. We’re here to help if you need it.”
2. Maintain A Reasonable Weight
Too much weight gain can lead to obesity – which is a leading cause of heart disease. The danger of obesity is that it’s often accompanied by high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure. By focusing on reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, you can lower your cholesterol and control your blood pressure.
3. Control High Blood Pressure
Chronic high blood pressure is hard on your heart. It requires it to work harder and significantly increases your risk of heart disease. But there are plenty of ways you can lower your blood pressure (and reduce your risk of developing heart disease). Here are some suggestions:
- Lose excess weight.
- Get plenty of exercise (especially that which temporarily increases your heart rate).
- Reduce the amount of sodium you consume in your diet. (Avoid adding salt to food and try to limit the number of processed foods you eat.)
- Reduce your intake of alcohol and stick to wine (over beer and spirits).
- Cut back on caffeine consumption.
- Reduce your overall level of stress by finding healthy ways to relax and unwind.
- Regularly monitor your blood pressure and keep a daily log.
4. Exercise Daily
Regular exercise is good for a number of reasons. Not only does it help you burn calories and lose weight, but it also trains your heart.
The heart is a muscle and it needs to be worked (otherwise it becomes weak and inefficient). By getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, you can improve circulation and physically create a healthier heart.
5. Follow A Heart-Healthy Diet
What you eat doesn’t just have an impact on your weight. It also influences heart health. An unhealthy diet, for example, will clog your arteries.
“Fat lodged in your arteries is a disaster waiting to happen. Sooner or later it could trigger a heart attack or stroke,” the American Heart Association points out. “You’ve got to reduce your intake of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol and get moving. If diet and physical activity alone don’t get those numbers down, then medication may be the key. Take it just like the doctor orders.”
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
At the end of the day, your heart’s health is largely within your control. By making smart lifestyle choices with diet, exercise, stress, and medication, you can dramatically lower your risk of heart disease and prolong your life. What are you waiting for?