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.
Take Action Today! Here’s How:
Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
High cholesterol and high blood pressure can cause heart disease and heart attack. If your cholesterol or blood pressure numbers are high, you can take steps to lower them.
All men age 35 and older need to get their cholesterol checked. You also need to get your cholesterol checked if you have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease and you are a:
- Man ages 20 to 35
- Woman age 20 or older
Get your blood pressure checked. Starting at age 18, get your blood pressure checked regularly. High blood pressure has no signs or symptoms.
Know your family’s health history.
Your family history affects your risk for heart disease. Share the information with your doctor or nurse. If you are worried about a family member’s risk for heart disease, use these tips to start a conversation about heart health.
Eating healthy can help lower your risk of heart disease. A heart-healthy diet includes foods that are low in saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium (salt).
Heart-healthy items include high-fiber foods (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) and certain fats (like the fats in olive oil and fish).
Check out these heart-healthy recipe collections:
- Keep the Beat™
- Stay Young at Heart
- Heart Healthy Home Cooking African American Style [PDF – 3 MB]
- Delicious Heart Healthy Latino Recipes [PDF – 3 MB]
Drink alcohol only in moderation.
If you choose to drink alcohol, drink only in moderation. This means limiting your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for woman and no more than 2 drinks a day for men. Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of heart disease.
Getting active can help prevent heart disease. Adults need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. This includes walking fast, dancing, and biking.
Stay at a healthy weight.
People who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. If you are overweight or obese, losing just 10 pounds can lower your risk of heart disease.
Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
Quitting smoking helps lower your risk of heart disease and heart attack. Avoiding secondhand smoke is important, too – so keep your home smoke-free. If you have guests who smoke, ask them to smoke outside.
Managing stress can help prevent serious health problems like heart disease, depression, and high blood pressure. Deep breathing and meditation are good ways to relax and manage stress.
For more information on heart disease, click here.
healthfinder.gov “Keep Your Heart Healthy” 08 September 2016. Web. 15 February 2017