Preventing Cardiovascular Disease

Heart disease kills more people than any other illness. Some risk factors, like family background, sex at birth, or age, can’t be changed. But there are many other things you can do to lower your risk of heart disease.

Start with these eight tips to improve the health of your heart:

1. Don’t use cigarettes or smoke.

Stopping smoking or using smokeless tobacco is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Even if you don’t smoke, you should stay away from people who do.

Tobacco contains chemicals that can hurt the heart and blood arteries. Less oxygen in the blood is caused by smoking cigarettes, which raises blood pressure and heart rate. This is because the heart has to work harder to make sure the body and brain get enough air.

2. Get moving: try to be active every day for at least 30 to 60 minutes.

Heart disease is less likely to happen if you work out every day. Being active helps you keep your weight in check. It also makes it less likely to get other health problems that can be hard on the heart. Some of these are type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

If you haven’t been busy in a while, you might have to work up to these goals slowly. In general, though, you should try for at least:

150 minutes a week of mild aerobic activity, like brisk walking.

75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, like running, each week.

Two or more sessions of strength training a week.

3. Eat well for your heart

A healthy diet can help protect the heart, lower the chance of type 2 diabetes, and improve blood pressure and cholesterol. A good eating plan for the heart includes:

Fruits and vegetables.

Beans or other similar foods.

Lean fish and meat.

dairy foods with little or no fat.

Complete grains.

Olive oil and avocado are examples of healthy fats.

4. Stay at a good weight

Heart disease is more likely to happen if you are overweight, especially in the middle of your body. Conditions that make it more likely to get heart disease can be caused by being overweight. Some of these diseases are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

5. Get a good night’s sleep

People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight, have high blood pressure, have a heart attack, develop diabetes, or feel sad.

Every night, most people need at least seven hours of sleep. So make sure you get enough sleep. Set a time to go to bed and stay with it. To do this, you should go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet so you can sleep better.

6. Deal with stress

Having high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease can be caused by worry that lasts for a long time. Some people deal with stress in bad ways, too. They might eat too much, drink too much, or smoke too much. Find other ways to deal with stress to improve your health. Physical movement, relaxation exercises, mindfulness, yoga, and meditation are all good ways to stay healthy.

If worry becomes too much, you should see a doctor. Stress that lasts for a long time may be linked to mental health problems like anxiety and sadness. Some of these problems, like high blood pressure and less blood flow to the heart, can also make you more likely to get heart disease. It’s important to get help if you think you might have sadness or anxiety.

7. Get regular checks on your health

The heart and blood valves can be hurt by high blood pressure and high cholesterol. But you probably won’t know if you have these conditions if you don’t get checked for them. You can find out what your numbers are and if you need to do something based on how often you get screened.

The level of blood pressure 

Blood pressure should be checked at least once every two years after age 18. This test looks for high blood pressure, which can be a sign of heart trouble or a stroke.

If you have risk factors for high blood pressure and are between the ages of 18 and 39, you will probably be checked once a year. People age 40 and up also get their blood pressure checked once a year.

levels of cholesterol 

If you have other risk factors, like a family history of early-onset heart disease, you may be told to get checked out sooner. Tests for cholesterol should be done every five years after the first one. Then, as you get older, the time changes. The NHLBI suggests that women 55 to 65 years old and men 45 to 65 years old get checked every one to two years. The cholesterol of people over 65 should be checked once a year.

Tests for Type 2 diabetes 

Blood sugar levels are always too high in people with diabetes. It makes you more likely to get heart problems. Being overweight and having a family background of diabetes are both things that can make you more likely to get diabetes. Your health care team may suggest early screening if you have any of the risk factors. If not, screening should start at 45 years old. Then, every three years, you get your blood sugar checked again.

8. Take steps to prevent infections

Heart problems can be made worse by other diseases that are caused by infections. Vaccines help keep you safe from diseases that spread easily. 

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