6 Steps to Prevent a Heart Attack
These simple lifestyle changes can help prevent heart disease.
Adopting healthy lifestyle habits can serve as your best defense against heart disease and stroke. Here are 6 things you can do to protect your heart.
- Stop smoking. Tobacco in any form and in any amount is one of the worst things for your heart. Just one cigarette a day increases your chances of heart disease. Quitting is one of the best things you can do for your heart and your overall health.
- Calm down. Stress isn't healthy. If you're stressed out, chances are that your heart is, too. In addition to the negative health effects of stress on your body, high levels of stress tend to aggravate behaviors such as smoking and overeating.
- Lose weight. Even modest weight loss can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes. Just 5-10% makes a big difference.
- Control high blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause immense strain on the heart. If your blood pressure is consistently higher than 130/80, it is time to talk to your doctor.
- Exercise. Ideally, you should exercise for at least 30 minutes, 3 - 5 times a week. But if you are strapped for time, even a 10-minute brisk walk after lunch can help. When it comes to exercise, every bit counts so take the stairs between floors or park a bit further away from the office door. It all adds up.
- Control your cholesterol. A healthy diet and exercise can help control cholesterol levels. Limit fried and fast foods. Instead, increase how many servings you have each day of plant-based foods, whole grains and foods low in saturated fats.
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Date Last Reviewed: July 7, 2021
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD