Did you know you can prevent heart disease? And if you already have heart disease, you can slow it down?
The truth is you can help lower your risk. But how?
- Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quitting is probably the most important thing you can do. Medicines and counseling can help you quit. And no matter how old you are, quitting can cut your risk of heart disease in half after just one smoke-free year.
- Be active. Aim for 30 minutes of activity on most, if not all, days of the week. Make it convenient – you can get your exercise in small amounts throughout the day – but your goal should be 2 1/2 hours of exercise a week.
- Eat heart-healthy foods. Fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meat, and nonfat dairy. Healthy oils like canola or olive oil are also good choices. Work on cutting back on foods that have saturated fat, salt, and added sugar. And ease up on the alcohol.
- Reach and stay at a healthy weight. You can talk with your doctor about a weight that’s right for you. But know that reaching a healthy weight isn’t just about hitting a number on the scale. Eating right and getting active are even more important. When you’re active and eating well, your body will settle into a weight that’s healthy for you.
- Manage your other health problems. Diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure put you at higher risk for heart disease. So work with your doctor to build a plan and understand what you can do to manage your other health problems.
When you take these steps, you’re doing all you can to prevent heart disease or slow its progression.