According to the American Heart Association, Cardiovascular Disease remains the number one killer among Americans. While the statistics are scary, there are some important steps you can take to help prevent this deadly disease.
Be physically active.
We all need at least 30 minutes of physical activity on all or most days of the week. Moderately intense activities are ideal such as walking 2 miles in 30 minutes, water aerobics, raking leaves and vigorous house cleaning. To help monitor your activity, download our Physical Activity Tracker.
Shed those extra pounds.
Being overweight increases your risk for a variety of diseases, including heart disease. Losing just 10 percent of your body weight can make a huge difference. But, losing pounds shouldn't be your only goal. It is important to focus on healthy eating that will result in the loss of extra weight. Getting the appropriate amount of fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains and water and limiting sweets, fats and salt are key. To help monitor what you eat, download our Nutrition Tracker.
If you smoke, quit.
According to the World Health Organization, individuals who quit smoking decrease their risk of heart disease one year later by 50 percent. If you quit smoking for 15 years, your risk of dying from heart disease is almost as low as a lifetime nonsmoker.
Keep your cholesterol in check.
The first step is to find out what your numbers are. Cholesterol consists of two numbers combined -- LDL and HDL. Trying to keep these numbers straight can be difficult. Here's a trick: LDL (Lousy) and HDL (Healthy). LDL cholesterol should stay below 130. HDL cholesterol is the opposite -- the higher, the better. Keeping the HDL cholesterol above 40 is a good goal. People who have low HDL and high LDL have an increased risk of heart attack.
Lower your blood pressure.
A blood pressure level of 140/90 or higher is considered high. About two-thirds of people over age 65 have high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 139/89, then you have prehypertension. This means that you don't have high blood pressure now but are likely to develop it in the future.
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