10 Tips to Reduce Your Risk for Heart Disease

10 Tips to Reduce Your Risk for Heart Disease
As little as 30 minutes of activity per day can help reduce your risk for heart disease.

1. Move It

Aim for 30 minutes a day of activity. Take it slowly until you can achieve this goal. Once you start exercising, make it routine. For weight loss, you may need to increase to 60 or 90 minutes daily. Consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

[Heart attack symptoms may be different in women than they are in men.]

2. Lose It

Body mass index (BMI), a calculation of your weight to height, is an important indicator that you are in a healthy range (18.5 – 24.9). Use our online BMI calculator.

3. Waist Management

Excess abdominal fat is a risk factor of heart disease, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, asthma, etc. Ideal waist circumference is less than 35” for women and less than 40” for men.

[Go to Exercise & Fitness.]

4. Eat Right

Focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains and meals you prepare yourself. Avoid foods with trans fat and high sugar/sodium content. To determine the best meal plan for you, consult a licensed registered dietitian.

[Go to Diet & Nutrition.]

5. Snooze or Snore?

Loud snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a significant risk factor for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Too much or too little sleep can contribute to weight gain. Aim for 6 to 8 hours of soundless sleep per night.

6. Speak Up

Bring questions to your doctor’s appointment.

Understand the important numbers such as blood pressure (normal <120/80), fasting blood sugar (<100mg/dl), BMI and cholesterol, including LDL (<100mg/dl), HDL (>50 mg/dl) and triglycerides (<150mg/dl).

7. Kick the Habit

Quit smoking! Avoid secondhand smoke. A single cigarette raises blood pressure for 20 minutes and increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke for the next 24 hours.

[Go to Smoking Cessation.]

8. Are Aspirin and Supplements Right for You?

Aspirin and supplements may be beneficial, but they are not without risk. Talk to your doctor before beginning any supplement therapy.

9. Say “No” to Stress

There may be little you can do about problems that cause stress, but there are techniques for managing it, such as long walks, meditation and exercise.

[Go to Reducing Stress.]

10. Start!

Start now and start small. Make changes one at a time and set reasonable and attainable goals to help increase the feeling of empowerment on your journey to a healthier life. 

Quick Reference

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Last Updated: 05-26-2014
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.