Reducing Your Risk - Heart Disease Prevention
While some risk factors for heart disease are out of your control (age, family history), there are many things you can do to reduce your risk. And, thankfully, these steps will improve your overall health and reduce your risk of other diseases, as well.
Watch your Diet
Excess weight puts extra strain on the heart, raises blood pressure and causes other circulatory problems. Eat foods low in saturated fat, low in cholesterol, high in fiber, and high in omega-3 fatty acids. Your diet should consist of fish, fruits, vegetables, cereals, beans, grains, and canola and olive oils. A high total of cholesterol level and/or low HDL (the good cholesterol) can cause plaque buildup in your arteries. Get your cholesterol level checked.
Do Not Smoke
Smoking increases blood pressure, reduces oxygen intake, causes blood clots and lowers HDL levels. It is especially bad for women taking birth control pills. If you smoke, quit now.
Holding anger in can be harmful to your heart. In fact, angry men are three times likely to die of sudden cardiac death. People who are lonely, depressed and isolated are five to seven more likely to die from heart disease. Toxic emotions can constrict arteries and cause blockages. Find an exercise and/or meditation program to help release these emotions.
Get Your Blood Pressure Checked
High blood pressure makes the heart work harder and puts pressure on blood pressure walls. It often has no symptoms.