Heart disease may be the leading cause of death in America, but being heart
smart can help you lower your chances of problems such as cardiovascular
disease, heart attack or high blood pressure. Learn how to keep your heart
healthy and strong with our list below:
Don't smoke. Smoking is a major factor in heart disease--it can increase the risk of
high blood pressure, blood clots and the fatty buildup in the arteries
called atherosclerosis that can lead to heart attacks. To read about a
family that experienced the devastating health effects of cigarette smoking, click
Watch what you eat. A healthy diet maintains a healthy weight, which lowers the risk of heart
disease. Some of the
best foods for heart health? Berries, flaxseeds and dark, leafy greens.
Get moving. Exercise makes your muscles strong--and that includes the heart muscle.
An easy way to get the exercise you and your heart need is
walking, which is especially beneficial when you are taking other steps toward
a healthy heart, such as lowering stress and watching your cholesterol.
When you are walking or working out, make sure to
keep track of your heart rate to get the maximum benefits of exercising.
Know your heart age. Feeling young at heart gets a whole new meaning with a Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention report that found the "age" of your heart--calculated
with risk factors such as obesity and high blood pressure--plays a role
in your risk of a heart attack. You can learn more, and calculate your
Get regular checkups. Just like you'd take your car in for maintenance to keep it running
smoothly, you should
visit your doctor to make sure your heart's in prime condition. Your physician can run
tests and screenings to get a full picture of your heart health, as well
as discuss any risk factors and offer guidance for lifestyle changes.
Listen to your body. Being in tune with your health helps you know when something is amiss,
such as with
silent heart attacks. Knowing the
warning signs of heart trouble means you're likely to seek out valuable medical attention--and in
the case of heart attacks,
quick intervention can be the difference between life and death.
Keep track of your heart health. To get a full picture of the state of your heart, it helps to not only
have healthy lifestyle habits but also have your numbers when it comes
to cholesterol and blood pressure. Measure all those factors with the
help of the American Heart Association's
Life's Simple 7 checklist.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.