According to the American Heart Association, approximately 610,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. each year, making it the leading cause of mortality. Plus, it affects women just as often as it does men, solidly beating breast cancer as the number one killer of women. The good news is there is a lot you can do to prevent heart disease.
Risk Factors to be Aware of:
- Age: Your risk of heart disease increases as you get older. 55 and older for women and 45 and older for men.
- Family History: You have a greater risk of developing heart disease if a close family member had heart disease at an early age.
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
How to Prevent Heart Disease:
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco. Smoking or using tobacco is one of the most significant risk factors for heart disease.
- Exercise. Even just 150 minutes of exercise a week can help to reduce your risk of heart disease. Any exercise is good exercise.
- Eat a heart healthy diet. Heart healthy foods include a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low fat dairy products and fish.
- Avoid foods high in trans-fats and saturated fats.
- Red meat, high fat dairy, fast foods, baked goods and more.
- Get enough sleep. Those that do not get enough sleep can put themselves at risk for obesity, blood pressure, heart attack and diabetes. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep as an adult.
- Manage stress.
- Get regular health screenings.
- Get your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked and be screened for diabetes.
Life style changes are difficult to make and the most important thing to do is try to best to improve your diet and physical activity. Be sure to talk to you health care provider about your risks for heart disease.