- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year – that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Everyone needs to know about heart disease and about the kinds of habits and conditions that can raise risk. This is a basic guide to the most important measures you should know on how to prevent heart disease.
Measures to Prevent Heart Disease
Control your blood pressure. It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly - at least once a year for most adults, and more often if you have high blood pressure. Take steps, including lifestyle changes, to prevent or control high blood pressure.
Keep your cholesterol levels under control. High levels of cholesterol can clog your arteries and raise your risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack. Lifestyle changes and medicines help can lower your cholesterol.
Stay at a healthy weight by eating a healthy diet. . Controlling your weight can lower risks of heart disease. Try to limit saturated fats, foods high in sodium, and added sugars. Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. The DASH diet is an example of an eating plan that can help you to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, two things that can lower your risk of heart disease.
Get regular exercise. Exercise has many benefits, including strengthening your heart and improving your circulation. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. All of these can lower your risk of heart disease.
Limit alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. It also adds extra calories, which may cause weight gain. Both of those raise your risk of heart disease. Men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, and women should not have more than one.
Don't smoke. Cigarette smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. You can talk with your health care provider for help in finding the best way for you to quit.
Manage stress. Stress is linked to heart disease in many ways. It can raise your blood pressure. Extreme stress can be a "trigger" for a heart attack. Also, some common ways of coping with stress, such as overeating, heavy drinking, and smoking, are bad for your heart. Some ways to help manage your stress include exercise, listening to music, focusing on something calm or peaceful, and meditating.
Manage diabetes. Having diabetes doubles your risk of diabetic heart disease. That is because over time, high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. So, it is important to get tested for diabetes, and if you have it, to keep it under control.
Get enough sleep. If you don't get enough sleep, you raise your risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Those three things can raise your risk for heart disease. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.