Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Americans. It is important to learn the risk factors and skills for prevention in order to live a long healthy life.
Everyone should take steps to lower their risk of heart disease, especially those with high risk factors. Below is a list of factors that increase that risk.
High Blood Pressure
High body fat percentage
Periodontal disease (gums/teeth)
Pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy)
Excessive alcohol intake
Genetics play a role in heart disease, high blood pressure, and other vascular conditions.
Families often share common environments and habits that affect heart health. (smoking, second hand smoke, poor diets, and inactivity)
Get Regular Check Ups
And Know Your Heart Health Numbers
Blood Pressure - less than 120/80 is ideal. Blood pressure more than 130/80 creates higher risks
Fasting Blood Sugar - should be less than 90 mg/dL. A fasting blood sugar more than 126mg/dL indicates diabetes.
Insulin level - should be 3-8 uIU/ml or less
Create Healthy Habits
Eat more vegetables and fruits -They are low in calories and a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Aim for five vegetables, and two fruits per day
Consume plenty of fiber -Fiber can help lower LDL (“bad cholesterol”). Choose fiber rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds
Choose Omega 3 fatty acids and mono unsaturated fats instead of saturated and trans fats -Sources of heart healthy fats include fish, walnuts, olive oil, and avocados
Limit sodium intake to <2300 mg/day -Minimizing salt consumption can lower blood pressure. This is best achieved by preparing fresh ingredients and avoiding processed, pre-packaged foods
Moderate alcohol use -Drinking in excess can cause high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and insulin resistance
See your dentist at least twice a year for an exam and cleaning
Brush your teeth at least in the morning and before bed
Use floss or water pick daily
If you smoke, it is very important to QUIT! - When you smoke, the liver makes more LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and less HDL (“good cholesterol”), which causes atherosclerosis. Immediately after quitting, your heart begins to grow stronger. Your heart will be as healthy as that of a non-smoker in as little as 2 years
Avoid second hand smoke
Physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight, improve cholesterol and insulin resistance, and lower blood pressure
Try to engage in moderate activity at least 30 minutes a day. For example, taking three 10 minute walks, morning and afternoon, is beneficial
Choose an activity that is enjoyable or have a buddy to hold you accountable.
Strength train twice weekly to maintain or increase muscle mass
Studies show that people with high stress at work or home, have higher rates of heart disease
To reduce stress, develop a good support system with friends and family, limit your stress load or ask for help.
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