Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your fate. Although you lack the power to change some risk factors — such as family history, sex or age — there are some key heart disease prevention steps you can take to reduce your risk. Here are ten heart disease prevention tips to get you started.

 

  1. Nuts to You. The risk of heart disease decreases with nut consumption. Try eating a small handful of almonds, walnuts, peanuts, or pistachios daily.
  2. Getting Adequate Zzzz’s. Lack of sleep could result in a higher risk of high blood pressure or worsening of existing high blood pressure. Aim for 7 hours of shut-eye.
  3. Hate Your Guts. Watch your waistline! A waist greater than 40 inches for men and more than 35 inches for women is associated with an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.
  4. Sweeten the Day. A daily dose of dark chocolate may benefit heart disease due to its high content of the antioxidants called flavanols. Keep the treat at three candy kisses.
  5. Know Your Numbers. A total cholesterol of less than 200 mg, an LDL less than 100, an HDL greater than 40 for a man and 50 for a woman, glucose less than 100, and a blood pressure less than 120/80 is a prescription for better health.
  6. Decrease Your Screen Time. Two or more hours of leisure spent sitting at the computer or in front of the television appears to increase risk of a heart attack (even for those who exercise). Rethink those hours of surfing the Net.
  7. Be with Happy People. We are natural mimics. This helps explain why we feel happier around happy people. Share your time with laughter, giggles and smiles.
  8. Never Start and if Smoking…QUIT. Each cigarette you smoke is estimated to rob you of 11 minutes of your life. Smoking also damages the heart, lungs and skin. Take action and quit.
  9. Recognize Symptoms of a Heart Attack. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense pain but most start slowly with mild discomfort in the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Other signs can be a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. Do not second-guess, call 911 and chew an aspirin.
  10. Think Color. Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients, like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A generous amount as part of a healthful diet is likely to reduce the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.

 

You can avoid heart problems in the future by adopting a healthy lifestyle today. For more information please visit http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/

 

Submitted by: Burnett Medical Center

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