There are many things that can raise your risk for heart disease. Some of them you cannot control, but there are many that you can control. Healthy lifestyle choices can lower your risk of heart disease and heart attack.
- Eat a healthy diet.The effects of a healthy diet are incredible. By limiting saturated fats, foods high in sodium, and added sugars you can lower your risk to, not only heart disease but also a myriad of other potential health problems.
- Get regular exercise. Exercise has many benefits, including strengthening your heart and improving your circulation. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure which are all risk factors for heart disease.
- Limit your drinking. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure and increases levels of cholesterol, which can harden your arteries. It also adds extra calories, which can contribute to weight gain. All of those raise your risk of heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, and women should not have more than one.
- Don't smoke. Cigarette smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. Exposure to other people’s secondhand smoke can increase the risk for heart disease even for nonsmokers. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. About half of the people who don't quit smoking will die of smoking-related problems.
- Manage stress. Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Not all stress is bad. But high levels of stress is linked to heart disease in many ways. It can also raise your blood pressure. Some common ways of coping with stress, such as overeating, heavy drinking, and smoking, which are bad for your heart. Some healthy ways to help manage your stress include: exercise, listening to music, focusing on something calm or peaceful, and meditating.
- Manage diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which your blood sugar levels are too high. Over time high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. It is important to get tested for diabetes, and if you have it, keep it under control.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep is important for overall health. When you don't get enough sleep, it does more than just make you feel tired. You raise your risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Those three things can raise your risk for heart disease. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. One problem, sleep apnea, causes people to briefly stop breathing many times during sleep. This interferes with your ability to get a good rest and can raise your risk of heart disease. If you think you might have it, ask your doctor about having a sleep study.
What More Can You Do?
Learn more about what else you can do to protect your heart's health.
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