Heart disease is the leading killer of Americans today; with heart attack is its most visible sign.
Healthy lifestyles play a big part in reducing your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Better lifestyle habits can help you to reduce your risk for heart attack. You have to learn what you can do to help prevent heart disease and stroke. If you have more than one risk factor for heart disease or stroke, you could and should make lifestyle choices that can reduce your risk. Change isn't always easy, but with the support of your healthcare providers, family and friends, and agencies such as the American Heart Association, you can introduce healthy habits into your daily life. Before you know it, you'll be one step closer to better health. Just remember, your first steps don't have to be giant ones. Small, gradual changes put you on the road to making big improvements.
- Stop smoking.
- Change your eating habits.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Get physical activity.
- Reduce stress and relax.
- If you have high blood pressure, diabetes etc., remember to take your medicine.
- Have your blood pressure checked regularly.
- Have regular dental and medical check ups.
Cigarette smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in the United States . That's important! Want evidence of the dangers of smoking? Consider these statistics: A smoker's risk of heart attack is more than twice that of nonsmokers. Cigarette smoking is the biggest risk factor for sudden cardiac death -- smokers are looking at two to four times the risk of nonsmokers. Studies have shown that cigarette smoking is also an important risk factor for stroke. The evidence also indicates that chronic exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (secondhand smoke, passive smoking) may increase the risk of heart disease.
You are what you eat is no more true today with our society's love affair with fast food. You need to know what you are eating before you know how to change your eating habits. Read the label, do your research, read articles, ask your doctor; the information is there for you to digest. Here are some of the most critical things to note when you pull yourself up to the table.
- Limit foods high in saturated fat, trans fat and/or cholesterol, such as whole-milk dairy products, fatty meats, tropical oils, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and egg yolks. Instead choose foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol.
- Eat your fruits and vegetables, 5 servings a day you'll fight off disease better too.
- Limit sugar in all its forms and there are a lot.
- Limit carbohydrates but don't eliminate them.
- Avoid fad diets that will actually harm your body, not help it.
People who have too much body fat are much more likely to develop heart disease and stroke even if they have no other risk factors. Obesity is unhealthy because excess weight increases the strain on the heart, not to mention your bones and other tissues. Its link with coronary heart disease is mainly attributed to raising the blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, which will also make diabetes more likely to develop. Don't rush into the newest fad diet though. Check with your doctor about the best way to take the weight off and remember that eating habits will play a big part in this. You’ve got to face it: Not everyone can be thin. But you can reach and maintain your best weight! It won't be easy. But it can be done. Your inherited genes may affect your susceptibility to obesity, but, simply put, some people simply eat too many calories. Obesity, which is a problem for about a third of the adult population in America , can contribute to heart disease. So battle the bulge with a plan that includes developing -- and maintaining -- a healthy diet and an active lifestyle
Swimming, cycling, jogging, skiing, hiking, walking, or any of dozens of other activities can help your heart. Whether it's included in a structured exercise program or just part of your daily routine, all physical activity adds up to a healthier heart. You can get your body moving anywhere, anytime. At home you can count cleaning house and gardening and lawn care as exercise, and it is! Take the kids for a walk, or better yet your partner. Walk the dog, ride a stationary bike while you watch TV, bounce on the bed; just have some fun. You can even get physical activity in at the office. Take the stairs, park farther away from the office (be safe of course) and walk in, use your lunch hour to walk around the mall or work area and use hotel exercise facilities when you travel. Some of these same activities can be used to de-stress and blow off steam. Combine them with bubble baths, massages, soft music, meditation-just take some time for yourself and breathe! Of course, always remember to check with your doctor before you start any exercise program and while you're there talk to him about your health concerns and see him at least once a year.