Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death among adults? The statistics are astonishing: one person suffers from a heart attack every forty seconds, and one or more people die from heart disease every minute. Three of the most common risk factors include, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. Unfortunately, about half of Americans have a higher risk of suffering from heart disease due to having one or more of these factors. The good news is that heart disease can easily be prevented by following four basic guidelines outlined below:
1. Make Heart Healthy Food Choices
Foods that are in saturated fats, trans fat, sodium, and cholesterol are associated with heart disease. To prevent eating foods that could lead to heart disease, choose healthier options such as fruits and vegetables. Make sure to stay away from processed foods and to limit your salt and sugar intake.
2. Increase Physical Activity
Lack of exercise can lead to risk factors of heart disease including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can lower your risk of contracting heart disease. The Surgeon General recommends getting at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise per week for adults.
3. No Tobacco Use
Tobacco use isn’t only bad for your lungs, it’s also not good for your heart. Using tobacco, whether inhaled or used in other ways, increases the risk for developing heart disease and heart attack. Smoking cigarettes can cause damage to the heart and blood vessels, while nicotine raises blood pressure, and carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen that your blood can carry.
4. Limit Alcohol Consumption
Consuming alcohol in moderation is recommended to limit the risks of heart disease. Drinking too much alcohol can increase blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Increased cholesterol levels may result in clogged arteries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women should have no more than 1 drink per day, and men should have no more than 2 drinks per day.
JPCHC providers can help you get on track to a healthy lifestyle and answer any questions you may have about heart disease. You should discuss your plans with your family provider before beginning any vigorous exercise. Contact us to schedule an appointment with a provider at a Jane Pauley health center near you.