Heart disease may be a leading cause of death, 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.
You can avoid heart problems in the future by adopting a healthy lifestyle today. The following are some heart disease prevention tips you should consider:
1. Don’t smoke.
When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe.
Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries due to plaque buildup (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack.
Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in your blood. This increases your blood pressure and heart rate by forcing your heart to work harder to supply enough oxygen.
Women who smoke and take birth control pills are at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke because both can increase the risk of blood clots.
2. Lower your cholesterol.
High blood cholesterol is a condition that greatly increases your chances of developing coronary heart disease. Extra cholesterol in the blood settles on the inner walls of the arteries, narrowing them and allowing less blood to pass through them to the heart.
Aim for total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL; LDL cholesterol below 130 mg/dL and HDL above 35 mg/dL.
It is common knowledge that we all need exercise to live a healthy lifestyle, but the key is getting the right amount of exercise for an adequate amount of time. It is very essential to exercise. About 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, at least four days a week is good.