The number one leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States is heart disease.
Every year, about 600,000 people die from heart disease – that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths in the United States. Luckily, measures can be taken to lower the chances that an individual will suffer from heart disease. Here are some simple yet effective guidelines on how to reduce your risk of heart disease:
1. Don’t smoke or use tobacco.
The chemicals found in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, which can narrow your arteries, and ultimately lead to a heart attack. Nicotine can also cause your heart rate and blood pressure to elevate, which can increase the risk of heart disease. Women who smoke and are on birth control have a greater risk of having a heart attack than those who don’t do either.
2. Exercise regularly.
Daily exercise can help you control your weight and reduce the chances of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Exercise can also help reduce stress, which is another factor in developing heart disease. Poorly controlled stress and anger management can lead to heart attacks so grab a pair of running shoes and head to your gym!
3. Maintain a healthy weight.
Check your BMI to see if you have a healthy or unhealthy body fat percentage. People with BMIs of 25 and higher are associated with higher blood fats, higher blood pressure, and increased risk of heart disease and stroke. With a proper exercise regimen and diet, you can greatly reduce your BMI.
4. Eat right.
Your diet should consist of foods that are low in fat, cholesterol, and salt. Swap out your McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries meal for a high-fiber, high-nutrient, low-cal diet. Vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and low-fat dairy should make up your meals. Also, increase the amount of vitamins you eat daily, especially antioxidants, which are proven to lower your risk of heart disease.
5. Get regular health screenings.
Make an appointment to visit your doctor for regular blood, cholesterol and diabetes screenings. The sooner you go, the better chance you have of knowing whether or not you need to take action right away to help your body.
You can take steps to keeping a healthy heart, you just have to have the self discipline to avoid situations that can harm you!